Application security, Threat Management

Kentucky botmaster gets year in prison

A botnet operator, rounded up this summer as part of the U.S. Justice Department's (DOJ) “Operation Bot Roast” sweep, has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Jason Michael Downey, 24, of Dry Ridge, Ky., was sentenced to 12 months in jail, three years of supervised release, and more than $21,000 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds last week.

Downey, who ran a botnet of up to 6,000 infected PCs, must also perform 150 hours of community service, according to the DOJ.

Arrested in June as part of the federal government's most aggressive move to date against bot herders, Downey caused more than $20,000 in damage through DoS attacks on victimized systems.

Downey controlled thousands of bot computers through the and Internet Chat Relay networks, according to a DOJ news release.

U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy said in a news release that the federal government has the training and know-how to track down cybercriminals.

“The so-called ‘botmasters' on the internet should realize that attacking and damaging other computer networks through a botnet can land you in prison,” he said. “We have the capacity to investigate and prosecute these high-tech crimes and will continue to do so.”

Alex Eckelberry, Sunbelt Software chief executive officer, declined to say if he thought the sentencing was appropriate, but said he was happy Downey is no longer operating botnets.

“I'm just glad they caught the guy,” he told today. “Let's hope he learns his lesson.”

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