On Monday this week there was a very interesting post by Andy Greenberg a blog writer for Forbes.com which introduces a botnet herd standing by for payment and targeting instructions to launch a powerful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. It appears based on his research that the botherd called "I'm DDOS" and available at "IMDDOS.org" is supposed to be used for testing purposes, however it is not clear how any type of target validation would or could be done by the company running the service to validate the target belongs to the attacker. You can see from the User Interface (UI) that the service looks to be fairly easy to use making it a likely attack tool for anyone with minimal computer skills and a grudge.
As with pioneers in computer infrastructure as a service, such as Salesforce and Amazon’s EC2 cloud, cyber arms dealers have begun asking customers, “Why buy when you can rent?” Renting cyber attack capabilities allows a political activist, terrorist group, or nation state to launch an attack on an online application - on demand. Those familiar with Cloud Computing and Software as a Service should recognize this as being the malicious equivalent - "hacking as a service".
This is interesting timing as I recently gave a breakfast panel presentation where I talked about the problem of "good vs. evil" in development of new capabilities characterized as Cloud computing. I see this as just another example of the new breed of cyber capabilities we will see in these times of on-demand computing.
I also highlighted a DEFCON 18 presentation which did a proof of concept to show a cloud-based Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) capability.
It is clear that the "?? as a Service" model is going to be popular for people wanting to bring their products to market quickly and for those that want to see results with minimal up front capital costs.