jbrodkin writes "Five dollars for control over 1,000 compromised email accounts. Eight dollars for a distributed denial-of-service attack that takes down a website for an hour. And just a buck to solve 1,000 captchas. Those are the going rates of cybercrime, the amounts criminals pay other criminals for the technical services necessary to launch attacks. This criminal underground was detailed Wednesday in a highly entertaining talk given by researcher Stefan Savage at the annual Usenix technical conference in Portland, Ore. Savage's research into the economics of cybercrime began as lip service to satisfy the terms of a government grant, but it turned out to be the key to stopping computer attacks. Targeted methods — such as using CAPTCHAs — don't stop criminals, but they add to the cost burden and put the inefficient criminal organizations out of business, letting security researchers focus only on the ones that survive."