Botnet services are available for just £6 an hour.

Research by analysts at VeriSign iDefense, the cyber security intelligence arm of VeriSign, has uncovered that botnets are available to rent for as little as $8.94 (£5.99) per hour. The investigation, which targeted 25 bot herders operating out of three online forums, also uncovered that the average price for botnet rental over a 24-hour period was $67.20 (£44.85).

The services advertised offered a variety of attack vectors available to rent, including ICMP, SYN, UDP, http, https and data. The investigation revealed that bot herders use many of the techniques employed by legitimate online businesses to promote their assets, including forum marketing and banner advertising. One bot herder outlined the pricing structure for the take-down of sites with anti-distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) measures.

Rick Howard, director of intelligence at VeriSign iDefense, said: “Organisations need to be wary of the fact that their critical online applications or services could be taken down in under a day by a criminal renting services from bot herders for just $8.94 (£5.99) per hour – the same price as a memory stick or DVD.

“Businesses and organisations all over the world need to take action now to protect themselves against DDoS attacks. While these attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the criminals targeting your business may not be. Don't leave your company vulnerable to any criminal with an internet connection and a little cash to spare.”