Hacking for money again? Well not really in this case, more like script kiddying for money – modifying an ‘off the shelf’ malware/bot package to evade detection and then cashing in on spamware affiliate fees.
I guess they could have made much with a 400,000 bot network – by renting it out for DDoS attacks to online extortionists. Although legally that’s even more risky.
A young hacker accused of helping to corral more than 400,000 computers into a money-making botnet has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the scheme, which he admits damaged US military computers.
The defendant was identified only by the the initials B.D.H. because he was a juvenile when the crimes were committed. He is better known by the handle “SoBe” in internet relay channels frequented by hackers. He appeared in US District Court in Los Angeles on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of juvenile delinquency. His plea agreement contemplates a sentence of one year to 18 months in prison.
$58,000 in 3 months isn’t even all that much money split between 2 or 3 people…but as the article says that’s all that is on record. They could have made much more than that. Imagine one of them could be sitting on a huge Paypal account that no one knows about.
It’s like the new age of bank robbers hiding their stash in the forest…nowadays guys are hiding it online.
SoBe entered the public spotlight in November 2005 as an “unindicted co-conspirator” to Jeanson James Ancheta, who eventually pleaded guilty to four felony charges in connection with the same botnet. With SoBe located in Boca Raton, Florida, and Ancheta working in Downey, California, the two built a lucrative business by surreptitiously installing adware on computers and then pocketing affiliate fees. According to court documents, the pair collected at least $58,000 in 13 months, but it’s possible they made much more.
Among the computers infected by SoBe and Ancheta were those belonging to the Defense Information Security Agency. SoBe also claimed to have pwned machines maintained by Sandia National Laboratories.
The elder of the two was sentenced to 57 months in prison (more than 4 years) – that’s a pretty hefty sentence and a good reminder not to do anything naughty.
We are ethical hackers after all – do remember that!
Source: The Register