It’s hard to believe, but there’s a business out there in finding vulnerabilities in Windows and selling this knowledge to others who want to build a new virus. Viruses can be profitable if they steal credit cards, or enable computers to serve as servers for spambots.
Techies at SlashDot note that this market is less lucrative than previously thought. Vulnerabilities sell for a mere $5,000 to $10,000.One reader wrote:
"Right now there’s no way to have much confidence that you’re actually getting what you’re paying for. If the exploit doesn’t work, what recourse do you have? This is a pretty common element in any underworld economy, but is exacerbated by the Internet’s anonymity and the newness/smallness of this particular market."
It strikes me that this situation is a lot like donating to a tiny charitable organization in the back woods of some third world country. It’s hard to be sure you are buying what you think you are. I’ll be curious to watch the virus market solved this problem, as it might give me ideas on how to solve a similar problem with charitable giving worldwide.