If you’re a Moscow-based zero-day exploit seller, all you have to do is e-mail a spyware company like Hacking Team out of the blue. You can go from initial, unsolicited message to getting paid tens of thousands of dollars in just a matter of weeks.
After Hacking Team, the Italian spyware vendor, was itself hacked and 400GB of its internal data released onto BitTorrent, Ars reviewed internal e-mails from the company. The chain of e-mails that follow offer a rare look into exactly how new security vulnerabilities get sold to companies and governments around the globe.
The Moscow vendor’s first e-mail, dated October 13, 2013, was short and to the point: