Trailrunner7 writes to mention that malware and botnet operators appear to be escalating to the next level by setting up their own virtual data centers. This elevates the criminals to the ISP level, making it much harder to stop them. "The criminals will buy servers and place them in a large data center and then submit an application for a large block of IP space. In some cases, the applicants are asked for nothing more than a letter explaining why they need the IP space, security researchers say. No further investigation is done, and once the criminals have the IP space, they've taken a layer of potential problems out of the equation. 'It's gotten completely out of hand. The bad guys are going to some local registries in Europe and getting massive amounts of IP space and then they just go to a hosting provider and set up their own data centers,' said Alex Lanstein, senior security researcher at FireEye, an anti-malware and anti-botnet vendor. 'It takes one more level out of it: You own your own IP space and you're your own ISP at that point.'"