Malware Distributor & Bot Network Master Sentenced To 4 Years


It seems to the feds are really cracking down on cybercrime recently, with a special kind of attention paid to botnets and their handlers. The sentences are getting stiffer too, this time with 4 years in prison for running a botnet and data theft.

I hope they keep it up, botnets are the scourge of the Internet and people should feel safe about their bank accounts and Paypal money. The Internet is becoming a bad neighborhood with people looking over their shoulders all the time.

A Los Angeles man was sentenced late Wednesday in federal court to four years in prison after pleading guilty last year to infecting as many as 250,000 computers and stealing thousands of peoples’ identities and hijacking their bank accounts.

The Los Angeles authorities said John Schiefer, 27, was the nation’s first defendant to plead guilty to wiretapping charges (.pdf) in connection to using botnets.

Schiefer, who went by the online handle “acidstorm,” faced as many as 60 years in prison and acknowledged using a botnet to remotely control computers across the United States. Once in control of the computers, the authorities said, (.pdf) his spybot malware allowed him to intercept computer communications. He mined usernames and passwords on accounts such as PayPal and made purchases totaling thousands of dollars without consent.

The first one to plead guilty eh? I guess the others will fall later with charges that can rack up some serious prison time with back to back sentences. I guess pleading guilty saved him from the possible 60 year sentence.

It must be hard to track the exact amount he conned from people and stole from Paypal accounts as there’s no real way to audit it. But as the law goes estimates are made by extrapolating whatever hard data they do have.

The authorities said he worked by day as an information security consultant with 3G Communications. After his guilty plea, Schiefer was hired at Mahalo, the so-called “human powered search engine.” Its founder, Jason Calacanis wrote that the company failed to realize that the Los Angeles company had hired a man who had pleaded guilty to being a hacker.

The defendant was among eight individuals indicted or successfully prosecuted in a crack down on black hat hackers who use armies of zombie computers to commit financial fraud, attack web sites with floods of traffic and send spam. The crimes at issue involved more than $20 million in losses, according to the FBI.

The FBI dubbed the eight cases “Operation Bot Roast II” — the second round of its investigations against botnets, one of the most dangerous threats online today. The first FBI crackdown on botnets was announced in June, 2007.

$20 million in losses seems a fairly generous estimate, but then I guess it makes for better headlines right? I wonder when “Operating Bot Roast III” will begin?

It won’t be too long I imagine, I hope they crack down on the botnets sending out spam – those are the ones that REALLY irk me.

Source: Wired (Thanks Navin)

Posted in: Legal Issues, Malware

, , , , , ,


Latest Posts:


Aclpwn.Py - Exploit ACL Based Privilege Escalation Paths in Active Directory Aclpwn.Py – Exploit ACL Based Privilege Escalation Paths in Active Directory
Aclpwn.py is a tool that interacts with BloodHound< to identify and exploit ACL based privilege escalation paths.
Vulhub - Pre-Built Vulnerable Docker Environments For Learning To Hack Vulhub – Pre-Built Vulnerable Docker Environments For Learning To Hack
Vulhub is an open-source collection of pre-built vulnerable docker environments for learning to hack. No pre-existing knowledge of docker is required, just execute two simple commands.
LibInjection - Detect SQL Injection (SQLi) and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) LibInjection – Detect SQL Injection (SQLi) and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
LibInjection is a C library to Detect SQL Injection (SQLi) and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) through lexical analysis of real-world Attacks.
Grype - Vulnerability Scanner For Container Images & Filesystems Grype – Vulnerability Scanner For Container Images & Filesystems
Grype is a vulnerability scanner for container images and filesystems with an easy to install binary that supports the packages for most major *nix based OS.
APT-Hunter - Threat Hunting Tool via Windows Event Log APT-Hunter – Threat Hunting Tool via Windows Event Log
APT-Hunter is a threat hunting tool for windows event logs made from the perspective of the purple team mindset to provide detection for APT movements hidden in the sea of windows event logs.
GitLab Watchman - Audit Gitlab For Sensitive Data & Credentials GitLab Watchman – Audit Gitlab For Sensitive Data & Credentials
GitLab Watchman is an app that uses the GitLab API to audit GitLab for sensitive data and credentials exposed internally, this includes code, commits, wikis etc


3 Responses to Malware Distributor & Bot Network Master Sentenced To 4 Years

  1. navin March 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    cheers!! :)

  2. defcon March 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    this dude should be made to clean up those computers and get community service, there is too many ppl in jail anyways and they come out more fucked up then when they come in

  3. John May 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    I agree with defcon…. nerds