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Botnets have become an increasing security concern in today's Internet. Thus far the mitigation to botnet attacks is a never ending arms race focusing on technical approaches. In this paper, the authors model botnet-related cybercrimes as a result of profit-maximizing decision-making from the perspectives of both botnet masters and renters/attackers. From this economic model, they can understand the effective rental size and the optimal botnet size that can maximize the profits of botnet masters and attackers. They propose the idea of using virtual bots (honeypots running on virtual machines) to create uncertainty in the level of botnet attacks. The uncertainty introduced by virtual bots has a deep impact on the profit gains on the botnet market.
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