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Phishing Is a Minimum-Wage Job

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the triumph-of-the-commons dept.

The Almighty Buck 224

rohitm918 writes "A study by Microsoft Research concludes that phishers make very little (PDF): '...low-skill jobs pay like low-skill jobs, whether the activity is legal or not.' They also find that the Gartner numbers that everyone quotes ($3.2B/year etc) are rubbish, off by a factor of 50. 'Even though it harvests "free money," phishing generates total revenue equal to the total costs incurred by the actors. Each participant earns, on average, only as much as he would have made in the opportunities he gave up elsewhere. As the total phishing effort increases the total phishing revenue declines: the harder individual phishers try the worse their collective situation gets. As a consequence, increasing effort is a sign of failure rather than of success.'"

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FP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26351865)

First???

Re:FP? (4, Funny)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352013)

Yes, you have the first post, but edit your hosts file to point slashdot.org to 69.16.232.239, then log in with your username and password and comment for yet another first post! I promise it'll be worth your while, just like your twitter [access-login.com] is!

And in case your browser does not stop you, do NOT [slashdot.org] actually log in to the access-login page above, unless you drool and make funny noises. And the IP used for the hosts file joke was random and does not VHost-phish slashdot.org. Disclaimers suck, don't they?

So that's what they do... (5, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351871)

I always wondered what the remaining 5% of computer science majors did, who didn't end up working minimum wage jobs at McBurger Queen...

Re:So that's what they do... (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351939)

Oh yes, the article makes it sound like they'd rather apply at Wal*Mart for shelf-stocking rather than phish, but honestly - having a myspace password or five is probably less paying than stocking shelves and fetching (or pretending to fetch) an item or two every now and then. And IMHO, Wal*Mart stockers (at least in my area) are probably more competent than most phishers, at least from the obvious fakes I've seen.

Sorry if I was an insensitive clod and offended any /.ers that happen to stock shelves for a living.

Re:So that's what they do... (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352883)

Hey! I'm an insensitive clod who makes fun of people who happen to stock shelves for a living, you insensitive clod!

Re:So that's what they do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26351985)

Willing to steal from people, and at a low wage to boot. What wonderful people. The lowest 5% of comp sci majors you say? Note to self: Never piss off someone who's pulling a D in Programming 101 in a dark alley.

Re:So that's what they do... (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352049)

...pulling a D in Programming 101...

For some reason, my tired eyes read that as "someone programming in D", and I thought to myself, "When did D become a huge hax0r language all of the sudden?" Because everyone knows the real black hats use M [slashdot.org] !

Minimum wage in the US (2, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351875)

Minimum wage in the US perhaps but when the phishers live in a country with a higher exchange rate. They can be making considerably more than minimum wage in their own country. Infact I bet you could work and also do some phishing on the side (just like granddad use to do).

Re:Minimum wage in the US (5, Informative)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352219)

If you read the article (which no-one ever does, but just in case you get modded insightful by a mod who didn't either), you'll see that minimum wage is a relative term.
The pool of phishing money is (more or less) static, so when more people start phishing (which happens as it becomes easier), the available money per phisher goes down until its not worth it. If this is less then the minimum wage, then people wouldn't do it, if its more, then more people do it. Hence it stabilizes around that mark. This is also one of the reasons why there are more phishers in poorer nations.

Re:Minimum wage in the US (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352269)

This is also one of the reasons why there are more phishers in poorer nations.

Don't worry, Obama is gonna fix that. He'll pass tax incentives to help encourage businessmen [wikipedia.org] to keep those phishing and bot-net writing jobs here in America ;)

yesterdays news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352371)

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/obama_promises_to_stop_americas

Re:Minimum wage in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352615)

There ya have it folks! Eliminate the minimum wage and you'll eliminate spam!

Re:Minimum wage in the US (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352747)

There's no evidence that the pool of phishing money is static, it's *assumed* by the article (section 4.4) based on some arbitrarily fixed small fraction of estimated numbers of web surfers being phished (0.37%).

Now, if you pretend that X amount of money must be shared by phishers no matter what, then it makes sense that more phishers means smaller returns for each on average. Of course, that doesn't mean that "superstar" phishers couldn't be increasing their share at the expense of "average" phishers, and it doesn't even allow for the possibility that more overall phishing activity can increase the phishing money pool by raising the number (0.37%) of web surfers who get scammed globally.

Re:Minimum wage in the US (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 5 years ago | (#26353101)

which no-one ever does, but just in case you get modded insightful by a mod who didn't either

I'm particularly interested in the headline and the great summary. It's nostalgic to see Tech Giants conducting behavioral interdisciplinary studies to apply to the information industry. Furthermore, the subtle taste of a public showdown with a lot undertone and hushes is a bit all too familiar and all too ironic (Microsoft behaving like an oligarchical government.) Frankly, you are just too damn pissed off that you read 12 pages of that shit. :_o)

nigeria (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352931)

Minimum wage her is lots for the phishing schools in Nigeria.

No more phish! (5, Funny)

Notabadguy (961343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351885)

Everyone knows that if you overphish a stream, there's no phish left for everyone else. Its a classic case of resource depletion!

That's actually waht they argue (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351979)

If you read their paper.

Also it is even worse, when you get down to it: People (contrary to evidence some times) have the capacity to learn. As phishing becomes a bigger problem, there's more news on it, more efforts to educate people about it and so on. So the pool of candidates shrinks. Likewise some companies start implementing technologies that make it hard/impossible to do (Paypal has a secure ID token you can get now for example).

So it isn't just a case of depleting the pool of dollars belonging to the people who can get phished, it is also a case of less people being available to be phished. While you'll certainly never educate everyone, I'd say awareness of phishing is much higher these days and many more people take care to protect their information.

Re:That's actually waht they argue (0)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352053)

Tokens don't make phishing impossible or even really hard. You just have to set up an additional layer that checks for varying passwords. If two passwords in a row are significantly different while also being the same length, it's probably a token, in which case you grab a couple of them, let the user in with the first (saving the password until the third attempt), and then sign in on your own to do whatever.

Session attribute checks (such as those used by Chase) can further increase the difficulty, but if someone falls for a phishing scam, there's a good chance that they're not noticing that you're doing a MITM attack.

Re:That's actually waht they argue (4, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352317)

Fail. Your log-in is timestamped. It must both be the current token value AND not be during the same token window as the previous log-in. In other words, each token becomes invalid when the next is ready; and each can only be used once.

Re:That's actually waht they argue (4, Informative)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352099)

I'm own the anti-phishing rules at a well-known email security company, and while I agree with the principle that over-phishing is causing problems, as it does with fishing (although as with phishing, the best phishers are catching a lot more phish than the worst pishers), I don't think very many people are doing much more to protect their information. What does seem to happen, though, is that - just as with fish that see lures dragged in front of them all day long - people are coming to think everything is a fraud (I see legit bank emails reported as phishing all the time). Some of them, anyway. I also see a lot of correspondence threads in which people have already handed over money to 419ers or are preparing to do so.

And of course, phishers are also diversifying somewhat. Earlier this year, account credential phishing became popular. The goal: not immediate financial reward via account plunder, but to get access to a legit login on a host with a good email reputation for the purpose of either using it to send fraudulent email, or using it to send regular spam for hire.

Financial losses continue to be high, and I'm not convinced that the 3.2 billion figure is off by a factor of 50, even if it might be on the high side. But earnings by the theoretical average phisher? Yeah, they've got to be off. There are so many phishers these days, so many people are deluged by phishing attempts, and at least for those who have a good spam filter, a figure north of 99% of those phishing attempts don't make it to the inbox anyway.

The ones that get me are the people who release blatant phishing from quarantine. I'd love to know how many of them later respond and get phished. I suspect that number is rather high.

And then there are the money mule scams. People fall for those all the time. The phish aren't getting that much smarter, as far as I can tell.

Re:That's actually waht they argue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352551)

Who own the grammar rules ?

>>I'm own the anti-phishing rules

Re:No more phish! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352027)

people should learn... there's plenty of jobs as pharmers and phlorists... or even phirephighters

Fleace and release (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352547)

Make everyone happy.

Need a new plan (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351891)

Damn, and I had just planned to enter the phishing business for a quick buck..

Re:Need a new plan (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351923)

Being a drug dealer at the night clubs is a worthwhile alternative.

Re:Need a new plan (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351927)

How did you know?!

oh wait..

Re:Need a new plan (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352043)

Haven't you heard? Microsoft has shown that jobs that require low skill pay a low wage, whether it's legal or not. So drug dealers all make near minimum wage.

Re:Need a new plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352113)

Exactly, same thing with bank robbery and insider trading!

Re:Need a new plan (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352129)

Are you suggesting that drug dealing needs no skills? Seriously!? You know how hard it is to make pretty, geeky girls to try their first extazy? No sir, its not as easy as it sounds.And then you need to also worry about the Police.

Re:Need a new plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352413)

[quote]pretty, geeky girls[/quote]

Statistics are meaningless when the sample sizes are so low.

Re:Need a new plan (3, Informative)

kzieli (1355557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352707)

Please read Chapter 3 of Freakonomics or at least the synopsis on Wikipedia. Short answer dealers get to handle a lot of money in much the same way as bank tellers do. They don't get to keep all that much,

Re:Need a new plan (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352979)

Ummmmmmmm.....not quite. Depends on what you're selling and who you're selling it to. While Freakonomics covers crack dealers, crack isn't really all that lucrative. I personally know at least 5 different people -- none of whom know each other beyond acquaintance -- who at various times made a killing selling (primarily) marijuana. None of those people would have sold an ounce of crack, mostly for the reasons outlined in Freakonomics.

Re:Need a new plan (4, Interesting)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352455)

Actually, A friend of mine was a marketing intern and turned to "slangin" as he called it. He made quite a bit of cash off the "nickle and dimers" by doing a little market analysis and identifying the non-public congregation points thereby raising his return on time and lowering his risk of being caught since most everyone there knew and could vouch for everyone else, then selling to them exclusively. He became known for delivering the desired goods in a far more timely fashion than could be acquired elsewhere and made those congregation points far more popular in the process. It was interesting to watch this occur. I observed for more than a year and rather enjoyed the constant female attention his customers lavished, you can probably see how that would work, the more you hang out with the supplier, the more deals you get.... In real life, he made a little over minimum wage, and oddly was my boss, then my employee.

Sigh, college life, how we miss you...

Not really all that big a surprise (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351909)

I mean for one thing, a lot of crime really doesn't pay well. Sometimes even less than a minimum wage job. I remember a few years ago there was a problem of newspaper machines getting broken in to and the change stolen. They finally caught the guy and estimated he'd been making well less than minimum wage. It wasn't a trivial job to get in them and it isn't as though a ton of papers are sold from those. While there certainly are criminals who make bank (like drug lords) often you'll find that really criminals would do just as well to get honest work.

Another thing is that you are talking about something where your success rate is very low, and even when you do have a success in terms of getting info, you don't necessarily get anything with it. Just because you steal someone's account and try to use it, doesn't mean it works. For example I had my credit card stolen. Wasn't a phishing scam, just someone that had got a hold of the number, but either way they had it. As soon as they tried to order something, I noticed. I had the card disabled, the merchant stopped shipment on the goods, and so on. The thief didn't get squat. So even though they were successful in getting my card, they weren't successful in getting anything with it.

So all in all ti doesn't surprise me that phishing is a low paying job. You aren't going to get many bites, some of the ones you DO get will be fake (I love filling out phishing forms with fake data), and even when you do get legit info, you might not get to use it.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (1)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351999)

Very true, I know a guy who sells pot. He is always bragging about how much money he makes. I always have a good laugh on the inside because the amount is pretty low. Sure he is making more money than the kids at burger king, but he is in his mid twenties.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352151)

Does he pay tax on his earnings ?

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352325)

Very true, I know a guy who sells pot. He is always bragging about how much money he makes

If he's selling drugs (even something as harmless as pot) while running around town bragging about it, he's likely to discover that his cost of doing business [wikipedia.org] will be going up soon.....

I'm not a big fan of a war on drugs but I don't have much sympathy for someone that mind numbingly stupid either. I always used to suspect that a friend of mine had a grow-operation going on -- but I never asked and she never told. If you are going to get involved in anything like that the first rule you learn is to keep your fucking mouth shut.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352393)

The second rule is: You get out before you're big enough to be worth taking down.

Even if you're just gonna set up shop somewhere else. And hope to hell there isn't someone more violent and territorial who'll want to make an example out of you.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352453)

The second rule is: You get out before you're big enough to be worth taking down.

I wouldn't have the balls to get into dealing. The risk to reward ratio just isn't there for pot and I don't believe in any of the harder stuff.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352527)

I wouldn't have the balls to get into dealing. The risk to reward ratio just isn't there for pot and I don't believe in any of the harder stuff.

On the other hand, the risk seems pretty low. Most pot dealers don't stand on a streetcorner, and many don't even advertise. Business is all word of mouth, and most customers repeat once a month or more -- nice and predictable income. Maybe every once in a while a dealer will try to up-sell a customer some mushrooms, but that's about it. Overall, selling pot seems like a much less risky business proposition than opening a coffee shop.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352757)

>On the other hand, the risk seems pretty low.

Three words: Civil Asset Forfeiture.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352775)

My father used to smoke, grow and deal pot. While they're not hanging out on a street corner dealing, it is pretty obvious when someone is dealing pot by all the cars that frequent a house for periods of around 5-15 minutes. Also, once the cops are aware that you grow the stuff and do little else they'll regularly show up every couple of months to bust you. This was in South Australia where sufficiently small quantities of pot were considered personal use and you were fined and had said pot confiscated.

My father would have earned more money with an honest job for less of an emotional cost. The paranoia, the imaginary vast government conspiracies, rarely ever leaving the house. But a great deal of that was probably the alcohol and pot abuse.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352919)

And that is because of the prohibition.

You speak truth, master PCM2.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352135)

I think a large part of the problem is, these people are crooked. Stealing out of newspaper machines? Pretty damned low. Chances are, you give a job like that, and he's going to steal from you, too -- so you fire him within a week. Unemployable, he continues stealing until he gets a nailed and sent to jail where he doesn't have to pay rent. So really, sometimes these guys are just doing whatever they can to make a buck.

This has been pontificated about before... (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352597)

I mean for one thing, a lot of crime really doesn't pay well. Sometimes even less than a minimum wage job.

Steven D. Levitt addresses this in his book, Freakonomics. Chapter 3 is titled Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms? [freakonomicsbook.com]

big fleas feeding on little fleas (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352689)

I always thought that spammers were all scamming each other more than the rest of us. It must be a very sad world.

Re:Not really all that big a surprise (2, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352731)

"As soon as they tried to order something, I noticed. I had the card disabled, the merchant stopped shipment on the goods, and so on. The thief didn't get squat."

Didn't get caught either. Merchant should have shipped "the goods" and had federal marshals "deliver them".

Tragedy of the suckers (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351929)

So basically there are too many people trying to exploit a limited pool of suckers to make the endeavor profitable. So sad. However, I have a solution, check out my site at http://www.h0wtoph1sh.com [h0wtoph1sh.com] .

Phishing is Minimum Wage? (1)

Todd Fisher (680265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351953)

Trey Anastasio seems to have made a pretty good living at it.

Re:Phishing is Minimum Wage? (0, Offtopic)

zifferent (656342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352711)

If only I had mod points.

Crime doesn't pay (3, Funny)

ecloud (3022) | more than 5 years ago | (#26351955)

...and neither does farming!

(slogan I saw on a baseball cap as a kid, maybe 25 years ago. One of my grandpa's buddies was wearing it.)

I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26351965)

Just send me your bank details and I'll compare our earnings.

Yeah, Right... (1, Insightful)

blcamp (211756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352023)

Phishers don't make squat. Right. Because obviously it's not as profitable as working at the local oil change shop, or at Wally World.

I'd like to see 419 examples of how Nigerian scammers don't make money.

Re:Yeah, Right... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352265)

I have the 419 examples you requested, but I need $3000 to get them through customs.

Re:Yeah, Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352267)

And you are backing up your claim with what evidence? And Nigerian scammers only exist because a scammer makes more than other Nigerians.

Re:Yeah, Right... (1)

Pompatus (642396) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352535)

It probably would be more profitable working at the local oil change shop or at walmart, but I doubt those places exist (at least in the way you think of them) in nigeria. Also, if you look at the GDP per capita of the United States and Nigeria [wikipedia.org] you'll notice that the small amount of money made phishing is much more valuable in nigeria than it is in the united states.

Economically rational, isn't. (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352041)

You have the choice:

1. earn minimum wage at McDonalds
2. earn less than minimum wage selling drugs

Which do you choose? Selling drugs of course. Why? Cause you've got respect for yourself and refuse to work a demeaning job.

Before you object, whether or not you agree that working at McDonalds is demeaning is irrelevant. Many, many, many women have been given the choice:

1. work as a stripper
2. work as a waitress

and decided that working as a waitress is less demeaning than working as a stripper. You may disagree with that, also but that's also irrelevant. The facts are that you can make a lot more money working as a stripper than as a waitress, and yet so many people choose not to.

The economically rational human is a myth.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (2, Interesting)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352263)

Just assign a value to, or create a market for, the lost self-respect and you're back in business from an economics standpoint.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352305)

Hehe.. why do you think women get paid more to be strippers than to be waitresses? There already is a market for lost self-respect. People choose not to participate in it.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1)

BagOCrap (980854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352461)

Your point being that waiters and waitresses have no self respect?

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352687)

No, I think his point is that you have whore(d) reading comprehension.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1)

BagOCrap (980854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352811)

Pardon me, for not being at same level of comprehension as you. I thought this was ./ and no one would notice anyway.

Then again... If not waitresses, then strippers have no self respect? Either way, sounds like stereotyping to me.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (2, Informative)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352987)

Okay, my friend BagOCrap, here it is slowly explained:

a) Most strippers make more money than most waitresses

b) Not all woman CAN become strippers, but some (id say most) surely can.

c) For those that can, when the option is presented to them, they tend to choose being a waitress.

Why?

Because, even if working at a strip club is not illegal (necessarily), most women that could become strippers, decide its not a good career to have when compared to waiting tables... even if the pay is WAY, WAY better than in waiting tables.

It so follows that this women do not, at all, take the best-profit decision and thus, are economically irrational.

This train of thought is not all that bad, but it does suffer from this flaw: it is shortsighted in that it does not take into account oportunity costs. Most women, perhaps, want to have kids and they might view stripping as a somehow incompatible endeavor with their PTA meetings or taking care of their kids (actual or in the future).

Even if you make good money by stripping, most gated suburbian communities aint gonna take your career choice lightly and will probably signal both you and your family as undesirables.

This is sad, but peer pressure takes its toll.

Or they just value it higher (2, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352675)

Hehe.. why do you think women get paid more to be strippers than to be waitresses? There already is a market for lost self-respect. People choose not to participate in it.

Every person places a different value on the same thing. If the difference in pay in X dollars per week, and girl A values her self-respect at X + 100 dollars, it would be irrational for her to strip instead of waiting tables (assuming other values are the same). If girl B values it at X - 200 dollars a week, it wouldn't make sense for her not to strip.

Just because you would make a choice differently doesn't mean they're not participating in the choice.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (2, Insightful)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352287)

It's not a question of most women not wanting to work as strippers, it's a simple fact that most women could never make a living as a stripper. The majority of people (both men and women) do not look all that good naked.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352389)

Then those people are not presented with that opportunity. Thanks for finding something else irrelevant. You can always rely on Slashdot.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352397)

he majority of people (both men and women) do not look all that good naked.

The majority of strippers don't look all that good naked either ;) The novelty of the experience combined with low lightning and alcohol is usually enough to make up for this however.....

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352831)

At least in metropolitan areas outside the bible belt, "stripper" is not the pariah it was a generation ago. As a result there is fierce competition for the jobs. You are framing "stripper" as some sort of "last resort opportunity" but in reality, it's not that easy to get "exotic dancer" jobs.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352921)

You are framing "stripper" as some sort of "last resort opportunity"

Umm, I did no such thing. All I said was that most strippers don't really look all that good naked, at least in my experience. YMMV.

it's not that easy to get "exotic dancer" jobs.

Did I say it was?

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (0, Offtopic)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352475)

Speak for yourself. You aint seen this slashdotter naked, Honey.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352911)

ever notice that most strip joints have a significant lack of lighting...

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352351)

You are fighting a strawman reg the 'economically rational human' - economics has as much to do with money as astronomy has to do with telescopes

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (3, Informative)

grege222 (995375) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352401)

I recently heard Stephen Levitt (Freakonomics) speak, and he actually addressed your first example. It's actually the title example in his next book "Why Drug Dealers Live With Their Mothers." The gist of it being that while dealing drugs may make less money and certainly has more risk than McDonalds, their is greater opportunity for upward mobility. Just because you don't understand what's going on doesn't mean that it's irrational.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352541)

It's in Freakonomics. (clearly you didn't read it)

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (1, Insightful)

nirjhari (1039166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352523)

But for M$FT, it is a perfectly rational approach to play down the concerns about malware, phishing, etc. Usual discourses about these issues usually end up at their door. As a corporate strategy, it makes more sense to get people to discuss ad nauseam about human virtues, strippers, drug dealers or for that matter about anything else, so long as the issue at hand stays muddled.

Re:Economically rational, isn't. (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352827)

That completely ignores the fact that (with very few exceptions) all, all, all women are given the choice of:

1. Have sex with men for money and get another job to supplement that income. (This can include stripper or waitress)
2. Not have sex with men for money and get a job to supply their income.

The vast majority of women choose to have sex with men for cash, goods and/or services. Almost all of them know what they are doing, but there are FAR greater profit for the whole group if this is denied. The stripper is simply a little more honest about her business.

While some will take offense at that, there really is no reason. There are very good biological reasons for how our culture came to have prostitution as a common activity, and very good cultural reasons that it become something that was taboo to speak of. Irrelevant to that, comparing waitresses to strippers is a waste of time if you don't take into account which of them are hookers and which ones are not.

Like drug dealing (2, Insightful)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352077)

For every dealer who makes big money, a lot of others are just scraping by, hoping to get that lucky break.

They'd do better with a real job.

Re:Like drug dealing (2, Insightful)

BagOCrap (980854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352485)

Of course they would. But then again, they'd probably have to lay off the pot or crack in order to do so.

Who funded this "independent" research"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352133)

lol, just kidding

If its an industry of talentless hacks... (1)

hilather (1079603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352145)

Why does the security industry have such a problem with it?

If phishing was a no talent game, there would be better detection methods built into web browsers to deal with it.

Phishing is always going to work. There are tons of stupid people out there, and even more that are intoxicated or high on something. Either way, its easy pickings.

Re:If its an industry of talentless hacks... (1)

BagOCrap (980854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352533)

Phishing is very primitive in most cases; elegant, and nearing true social engineering in some others.

Of course the security industry is frustrated about not being able to successfully fight back such simple or primitive methods. Automatically.

Re:If its an industry of talentless hacks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352545)

Simple economics there. If it's not a problem then the security guys don't get paid. So you make a lot of noise and it's a huge problem, ding payday!

Negative PR (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352163)

Nah... they just wanna demoralize the phishers so they'll give up and beg Microsoft to hire them for the $10 an hour they now know they're worth.

Bit off-topic (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352165)

How come Microsoft people are using Latex? The PDF from article is produced using tex (dvipdfm).

Perhaps open source is welcome even in Redmond.

Re:Bit off-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352489)

Microsoft != Microsoft Research

Having taken Econ 101... (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352203)

And thus being a perfect master of all questions of human economic activity(except for currency related theory, which is why I'm just going to parrot gold-standard talking points until we get to that chapter next semester in Econ 102) I have a solution!

Clearly, since phishing shows the classic signs of being a tragedy of the commons(if I were serious, I would put a patronizing link to the wikipedia article I had read just moments before in this spot) we must divide up the world's computer using idiots and make individual blocks of them the property of particular phishers, thus aligning incentives and ensuring optimal exploitation of the Lusers. I call all AOL usernames that start with "a"!

Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352211)

Stats compiled by a company running Excell and built Windows vs. the idiots of Gartner. To be honest, I am going to guess they are both way off.

Phishing is like Amway and other MLM's (2, Interesting)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352239)

The only ones who made any real money were the ones who bought in early; the vast majority of Amway reps break even at best.

Re:Phishing is like Amway and other MLM's (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352573)

I don't think the two revenue streams are similar, one is more or less a legitimized pyramid scheme (Amway) while the other is outright theft through deception. Worst case with Amway, you end up with a house full of hand soap that'll last you the next 30 years, not so good if your bank account gets cleaned out and all your cards maxed up though.

Re:Phishing is like Amway and other MLM's (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352583)

That was my first thought when I hit the section on phishers making money by selling resources to optimistic noob phishers. Most of the money in something like Amway isn't actually in moving product, it is in so called "Business Support Materials", motivational tapes, seminars, and the like.

Global economy anyone? (-1, Redundant)

kramer (19951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352245)

Sure it only returns minimum wage by US standards, but in a country like Nigeria where the per capita income around $2,000 yearly, minimum wage looks pretty good.

Re:Global economy anyone? (-1, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352907)

why is this redundant? he is clearly right.

Phishable dollars as a fixed resource? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352323)

I don't think so.

I would expect that dollars phished would rather rapidly find their way back into phishable accounts. Every time a phisher uses phished money to buy something, say, a TV, that money eventually reaches common workers who put the money back into phishable accounts. The only way the pool of phishable money is decreased is when a phisher holds onto the money indefinitely.

It's the same philosophy as the money-multiplier effect in banking institutions.

Similarities to drug dealers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352517)

I work in Criminology and know that studies that focus on drug dealers show that they make far less than what most people imagine. Instead, many are in it because they need to add to their existing, legitimate, source of income or because they are attracted to the lifestyle. Its very possible that many phishers are tolerant of the low income simply because they enjoy living the lifestyle. Anyone interested in looking into the other possible links might want to read this [ingentaconnect.com] .

Mhm (0, Redundant)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352609)

Wait... now how in the hell is it possible for an enterprise to survive if it doesn't earn its actors any kind of profit?

This reminds me of the Freakonomics book's chapter on crack dealing. It states that most crack dealers would actually be making more money doing something else, but they still do it because (if i remember correctly) its what their neighborhood does.

Now how does that map to electronic thievery, i have no idea.

wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26352641)

They make some assumptions that simply aren't true. They seem to imply that there is no barrier to entry. That there is neither a technical barrier nor a moral one and that there will simply be as many phishers as there can be until the money drops below minimum wage.

On the analogy of drugs that some have suggested there are two completely different kinds of drug dealers; those that get high off their own supply and those that don't. Those that don't tend to make pretty good money. I've known more than one who put themselves through school dealing drugs.

Irrational expepctation (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352841)

It is this way any time someone waves huge amounts of money at a job people think anyone can do. It is likely that some spammers make huge amounts of money, so why not me?

For instance, some football players make a lot of money, so families, schools, colleges spend huge amounts of money to get people a position where they can make this money. In fact, even if one only considers colleges that are regularly recruited, the expectation value of income for these players are minimum wage. Of course, they can make money if they have others degress or skills, but the expectation if the rely on the game is very small.

As mentioned, many people prefer a small income with criminal activity rather than an honest, if perhaps uncomfortable job. People also prefer jobs they think they can have fun with to jobs where they actually have to put a honest days work.

We see this with the Madoff case, where it is better to be rich and work at a dishonorable profession than honorable and not so well off. Why would Madoff, or his criminal kids, be more respected than a person who is on time and does a good job at McDonalds?

Opportunities Elsewhere (2, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352847)

This is speculation, but my (big fat) gut tells me that while this might be true in general, there's probably at least one person at the top of a major phishing scheme making decent money.

Sure, the peons (as in any industry) who do the actual labor get paid crud, my guess is that Upper Management does just fine. Sure, unskilled labor gets the market rate for such.

well yeah (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#26352895)

and I'd have to imagine that wow gold farming is less-than-US minimum wage as well. along with all kinds of other jobs both legal and illegal. While it may be less than US minimum wage, it might be a pretty good deal in the country of origin.

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