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Dirty Jobs: The Role of Freelance Labor in Web Service Abuse

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Executive Summary

Modern Web services inevitably engender abuse, as attackers find ways to exploit a service and its user base. However, while defending against such abuse is generally considered a technical endeavor, the authors argue that there is an increasing role played by human labor markets. Using over seven years of data from the popular crowd-sourcing site Freelancer.com, as well data from their own active job solicitations, they characterize the labor market involved in service abuse. They identify the largest classes of abuse work, including account creation, social networking link generation and search engine optimization support, and characterize how pricing and demand have evolved in supporting this activity.

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