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Exploring the Provision of Online Booter Services

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This research uses differential association, techniques of neutralisation and rational choice theory to study those who operate ‘booter services’: websites that illegally offer denial-of-service attacks for a fee. Booter services provide ‘easy money’ for the young males that run them. The operators claim they provide legitimate services for network testing, despite acknowledging that their services are used to attack other targets. Booter services are advertised through the online communities where the skills are learnt and definitions favourable towards offending are shared. Some financial services proactively frustrate the provision of booter services, by closing the accounts used for receiving payments.



Denial of service attacks, booter services, differential association, techniques of neutralisation, rational choice theory, cybercrime

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Deviant Behavior

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Informa UK Limited
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M020320/1)
The work would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of Ross Anderson. It was supported by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, Cyber Security Division (DHSS&T/CSD) Broad Agency Announcement 11.02, the Government of Australia and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific [contract number N66001-13-C-0131]. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect those of the aforementioned agencies.