Thursday, March 05, 2009

Botnet Hacker Gets Four Years - UPDATE

Via Threat Level.

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 authorities said he worked by day as an information security consultant with 3G Communications.

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.

More here.

UPDATE: 16:54 PST: Rafe Needleman writes over on C|Net News that Mr. Schiefer is currently working at Mahalo until his incarceration begins. -ferg


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