Jeanson James Ancheta, the BotNet operator being called the “Bot Herder” once explained to someone that “It’s immoral, but the money makes it right.”
Well, Jeanson James Ancheta, actually it’s immoral, and the 4 to 6 years you are about to spend in Federal prison makes it wrong. That’s how much time the 20 year old Ancheta is facing under a plea bargain currently being finalized with Federal prosecutors.
So just how much money was it that Ancheta considered to be “worth it”?
Well, by all accounts, Ancheta was was controlling a “herd” of bots – home and office PCs which had been compromised by worms and viruses allowing Ancheta to control them remotely to send out spam and mount DOS attacks – which was at least 400,000 strong. And in the course of just over a year, he made about $60,000, and also acquired a 1993 BMW (which he has to forfeit).
Part of his money came from signing on as an affiliate with Gamma and Loudcash (now part of 180Solutions), and then installing their software on the army of bot computers. Ancheta got an affiliate dividend for each “user” who installed the software on their computer. Of course, it was Ancheta himself installing the software on the compromised computers, but nobody seemed to worry about that. Except for Federal prosecutors.
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According to the U.S. Attorneys office, “Ancheta admitted generating roughly $60,000 in advertising affiliate proceeds by directing more than 400,000 infected computers that were part of his botnet armies to other computer servers he controlled where adware he had modified would surreptitiously download onto the zombies.”
Said Federal prosecutor James Aquilina, “Part of what’s most troubling about those who commit these kinds of offenses is they think they’ll never be caught.”
Actually, what I find most troubling is that among the 400,000 others, Ancheta managed to infect U.S. military computers at the China Lake Naval Air Facility, and at the Defense Information System Agency in Virginia.
Just how many steps removed were we from “the money making it right” for Ancheta or his ilk to do something even more sinister with infected military computers?
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