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Security researchers have unpicked the business plan behind a botnet that serves as the backend for a DDoS-for-hire business.

The IM DDoS service, hosted in China, offers the lease of a botnet for anyone keen to flood a targeted website via a handy-to-use web-based interface. Following the registration of domains in March 2010, testing of the botnet began in April 2010, closely followed by a commercial launch.

By the second week of August, the botnet was running 25,000 recursive DNS lookups/hour to its associated command-and-control (CnC) servers, a level of activity that put it front and centre on the radar of security firm Damballa.

As many as 10,000 additional compromised PCs were added to its ranks every day at and around this time, making it among the largest active botnets on the web.

DDoS-oriented botnets are par for the course. What differentiates the IM DDoS is its level of commercial sophistication in establishing a "managed services provider (MSP) for bespoke DDoS attacks," as Damballa describes it.

Damballa is working with Chinese authorities on taking down the botnet. In the meantime the security firm has published a white paper on the threat, which can be found here. ®

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