Have you ever wondered exactly how a botnet works? A wotnet, you ask? A botnet, I say. You know, the thing that your computer might well be a part of, without your knowledge or approval, which is used to launch distributed denial of service attacks, send spam, distribute malware and above all else make the criminal gangs that control them lots and lots of money. Now are you ever so slightly curious as to how a botnet works, how it does the Borg thing and assimilates your computing resources, what damage it does, how much money it makes and how you can prevent yourself from being just another statistic? Thought so.

Vitaly Kamlyuk is a senior virus analyst with Kaspersky Lab and has just published the first part of what promises to be one the most accessible and complete studies of The Botnet Business at Viruslist.com

"It's the spammers who understand the real value of botnets. According to our data, an average spammer makes $50,000 – $100,000 a year" Kamlyuk says, adding that another option for making money illegally using botnets is "based on leasing them or selling entire networks. Creating botnets for sale is also a lucrative criminal business."

Storm and Mayday are covered in some detail in this analytical article, and it really is rather fascinating stuff for anyone with event the slightest interest in understanding why the IT security landscape is littered with spam, malware and misunderstanding.

Kamlyuk concludes, somewhat worryingly, that what makes botnets ever more dangerous is that they are becoming increasingly easier to use. "In the near future, even children will be able to manage them" he says "the ability to gain access to a network of infected computers is determined by the amount of money cybercriminals have at their disposal rather than whether they have specialized knowledge."