A multi-million pound underground economy is growing up through the sophisticated use of internet sabotage involving extortion, blackmail and fraud.
Sending a million e-mails to an enemy costs up to £50. A programme to hijack users' internet browsers to display a pornography site will set you back around £200. And between £8,000 and £12,000 will buy a full-blown assault on a website.
This week two new computer viruses emerged which proved that their writers no longer do it for idle recreation. Instead, they aim to set up "zombie networks" of thousands of virus-infected PCs, to offer as tools for criminals to exploit and attack the wider internet.
The value of "zombie" networks to virus writers became clear earlier this year, when the online equivalent of a gang war broke out between the "Netsky" and "MyDoom" gangs. They wrote wave after wave of competing viruses, apparently with the intention of taking over rival zombie machines.
From this article.