In a new wrinkle in cybercriminal business modeling, distributed denial of service (DDoS)-for-hire services are being offered on the popular website Fiverr—where, as its name suggests, various professional services are offered for $5.
According to Imperva, DDoS-for-hire services are a widespread business for hackers, typically billing themselves as “stressor” services to “help test the resilience of your own server.” In reality, they’re renting out access to a network of enslaved botnet devices, (e.g., Trojan-infected PCs), which are used as a platform to launch DDoS attacks. And once a user hands over his money, the criminals don’t care whose servers are ‘stress tested.’
A year ago, Imperva’s survey of the 20 most common stressor services showed that the average price was $38 per hour, and went as low as $19. Recently, the SecureWorks Underground Hacker Marketplace Report showed that, on the bottom end, the cost of hiring such a service on the Russian underground dropped to just five dollars per hour.
“The price tag made us think of Fiverr—a trendy online marketplace where various professional services are offered for five bucks?” Incapsula researchers said, in a blog. “Would DDoS dealers have the audacity to use this platform to push their wares? A quick site search confirmed that, in fact, they would.”
Imperva reached out to see if the Fiverr offers were the innocent stress testers they claimed to be.
“To do so, we created an account on Fiverr and asked each of the stressor providers the following question: Regarding the stress test, does the site have to be my own?” the researchers noted. “Most had the good sense to ignore our message. One suggested that we talk on Skype.”
In the end, an offering with a skull and bones image that offered to “massive DDoS attack your website” responded, saying: “Honestly, you [can] test any site. Except government state websites, hospitals.”
Imperva quickly contacted Fiverr to let them know about the misuse of their service—they responded and acted to remove the providers. “Fiverr’s decisive action should serve as an example to an online community that, by and large, has accepted the existence of illegal stressors as a fact of life,” the researchers noted.