Cybercriminals are looking for more people to spread malicious code, and they're advertising online for contract employees.
According to a paper presented at the Black Hat security conference in Arlington, Virginia, by Kevin Stevens, a threat intelligence analyst for SecureWorks, two companies are hiring those willing to indulge in cybercrime.
He stated that the hackers are "recruiting hundreds of affiliates to join their Pay Per Install Affiliate Programs. While purporting to be programs that merely install adware, they are actually scams to install some of the most malicious malware and spyware out on the market today."
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Have computer, will scam
Those taken on are provided with malicious code and link it to something that people will want to view. One site offers $180 for each 1,000 downloads onto a computer in the US. Computers elsewhere pay less, and there's nothing for Russian computers. This has fuelled speculation that the sites are based in Russia.
The site states: "We pay your wages via the following systems: Fethard, WebMoney, Wire, e-gold, Western Union (WU), MoneyGram, Anelik and ePassporte, and PayPal."
Stevens estimated that millions of computers have been infected in this manner. The FBI gave a total of $264 million in reported Internet crime losses by individuals in 2008.
In other words, don't follow that link in the hope of seeing Cheryl Cole topless.