According to security firm VeriSign, unskilled cyber criminals can rent botnets for only a few bucks an hour, allowing them to launch DDoS attacks and cause other online mischief. After investigating 25 botnet operators, VeriSign iDefense found that the rental price started at less than $9 an hour, and about $67 for 24 hours.

The outfit discovered that many herders use common advertising methods to attract buyers, such as banner ads and forum marketing. Advertised services included a variety of attack vectors, including ICMP, SYN, HTTP, HTTPS, and Data, and one botnet operator even offered pricing for the takedown of sites with anti-attack protection installed.

With botnets so readily and cheaply available, the use of such services could become more widespread and dangerous since little technical proficiency is required. "While these attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the criminals targeting your business may not be," said Rick Howard of VeriSign iDefense.