Researching the spam economy

An amazing experiment to map the spam economy – by hijacking 75,000 computers in Storm Worm’s botnet! Surprisingly, researchers estimate that spam campaigns still earn a profit, even at a response rate less than 1 in 107!

Researchers Hijack Storm Worm to Track Profits

A single response from 12 million e-mails is all it takes for spammers to turn annual profits of millions of dollars promoting knockoff pharmaceuticals, according to an unprecedented new study on the economics of spam.

The research team estimates that about three-quarters of all e-mail sent by the Storm worm was snagged by junk e-mail filters, ISP blacklists, and other e-mail security applications.

“Under the assumption that our measurements are representative over time, we can extrapolate that… Storm-generated pharmaceutical spam would produce roughly $3.5 million dollars of revenue a year,” the team concluded.

“By the same logic, we estimate that Storm self-propagation campaigns can produce between 3,500 and 8,500 new bots per day.”

More trouble in the chip industry

Chip companies, amid slackening demand, lower forecasts and cut jobs

Intel of Santa Clara, […] significantly scaled back its estimate for fourth-quarter revenue. Instead of the $10.1 billion to $10.9 billion it predicted it would take in, the company said it now predicts its revenue will be closer to $9 billion, plus or minus $300 million, a drop of at least 8 percent.

Applied Materials of Santa Clara, […] said its profit in the most recent quarter was 45 percent lower than for the same period last year and announced it will trim 1,800 positions, or about 12 percent of its workforce.

Citing weak demand for cell phones and other gadgets that use chips, Santa Clara-based National Semiconductor lowered its sales forecast by at least 9 percent for the next quarter and said it will reduce its roughly 7,000 positions by about 330.

A month ago, when it reported third-quarter revenue of $10.2 billion, Intel predicted its business would stay flat through the fourth quarter. But Paul Otellini […] promised to provide analysts with an updated fourth-quarter forecast on Dec. 4. Intel chose to provide that revised forecast Wednesday because mounting evidence had made it clear the company’s previous estimate was far too optimistic.

“We saw in just the last few weeks a really rapid deceleration in demand and that’s what prompted the update now,” said spokesman Chuck Mulloy. “We just decided, ‘Why wait until Dec. 4. We know what the answer is now.’ “