Botnet creator gets 30 month jail sentence


A hacker in Arizona has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for selling access to a botnet he created.

Joshua Schichtel pleaded guilty last August to one count of attempting to cause damage to multiple computers without authorisation using the transmission of programs, codes or commands. This constitutes a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the US.

The 30-year-old man has also been ordered to serve three years of supervised release. His supervision will be firmly controlled, as will his internet access.

Schichtel pleaded guilty to allowing malware to be installed on around 72,000 computers for a customer who paid him $1,500 for using the botnet. US officials claimed Schichtel had dozens of customers.

"Individuals who wanted to infect computers with various different types of malicious software would contact Schichtel and pay him to install, or have installed, malware on the computers that comprised those botnets," the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

The hacker had previously faced charges connected to a series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks back in 2005, when he was charged along with three other US citizens and a British man.

Schichtel was also alleged to have been a member of the "DDOS Mafia", a gang of hackers who engaged in attacks on websites for paying clients.

At the time, prosecutors in California dropped the case, having failed to indict the defendants within the necessary time.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.