September 7, 2012
Cyber Terrorist Sentenced To 30 Months For Botnet Scheme
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Cyber terrorism fighters everywhere have scored a small victory this week as Joshua Schichtel was sentenced to thirty months in prison for running a botnet that infected some 72,000 computers. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said Schichtel sold command and control access to his botnet and confirmed that he was being paid $1,500 by at least one customer to have access to it.
Schichtel plead guilty last year to a single count of attempting to cause damage to multiple computers without authorization by the transmission of programs, codes or commands, which is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, according to the DOJ. After his 30-month sentence is up, Schichtel must serve three years of supervised release, the agency added.
Schichtel was seen as a unique hacker. Rather than infecting computers for his own benefit, he instead sold botnets to customers who didn´t have the tech knowledge to create their own malicious software.
“Individuals who wanted to infect computers with various different types of malicious software (malware) would contact Schichtel and pay him to install, or have installed, malware on the computers that comprised those botnets,” DOJ said in a written statement released during the sentencing.
Before being caught in the Washington DC area in 2009, Schichtel was also named in a 2004 complaint for “conspiring to use thousands of infected computers to launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks against e-commerce websites.” Ars Technica reported that those charges were later dismissed because the government didn´t get an indictment before deadline.
Schichtel is one of a handful of hackers who have been nabbed in the last year. The Bredolab virus creator, credited with infecting 30 million computers globally, and members of the LulzSec group that allegedly broke into corporate networks, have been caught and charged as well.
However, cyber crime is far from being rubbed out. It is on the rise and continues to flourish as lawmakers struggle to catch up with the increasingly creative and complex cyber schemes out there. Today, there is likely not one computer that connects to the Internet that is safe from a virus, worm, Trojan, or spam.