Threat Management

Botnet creator pleads guilty

Jason Michael Milmont, a significant malware developer, admitted guilt in federal court for fraudulently accessing protected computers. The announcement came from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The guilty plea will not, however, put an end to the innovation in crimeware he developed. His development came to be known as the Nugache worm – it uniquely wrapped the worm into a P2P protocol, which made detection and prevention difficult.

Sam Masiello, director of threat management at MX Logic, said in a blog posting that, “…this story is only significant because of Milmont's contribution to the botnet community with how his Nugache worm used peer-to-peer networking technology…to create a fully redundant, interconnected network to prevent his botnet from easily being shut down.”

A PC infected with Milmont's worm could be made to send spam to the user's contact lists asking recipients to visit fake web sites that prompted users to download files. The files were worms that when activated started the spam cycle all over again.

Masiello told on Tuesday that, "The Nugache botnet hasbeen pretty well contained at his point. Even in its hayday, it wasn't big. The botnet ranged in the area of 5,000 to 15,000 actual bots, which pales in comparison to some of the other botnetstoday, like the Szirbi botnet – that's estimated to be more that300,000."

According to the plea agreement, Milmont “…knowingly accessed without authorization a computer used in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud.” He faces up to five years in prison, and as part of the deal, must pay back $73,866.36.

Wesley L. Hsu, chief of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, told on Tuesday, "Law enforcement has been active and is trying to be more active in the cybercrime area. Botnets are an increasing problem, and you're seeing an increasing number of prosecutions nationwide. Hopefully it has some kind of deterrent value."


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