Threat Management, Malware

Man who used botnet to earn college tuition dodges jail time, gets probation


A man who controlled a botnet 77,000 computers strong, earning money for tuition by renting it to others to send spam, won't see the inside of a jail cell for his misadventure.

Sean Tiernan, now enrolled in the Stanford CyberSecurity Graduate Program and "employed continuously with a well-known company in the cybersecurity sector," Bleeping Computer reported his lawyers as saying, was instead sentenced Monday to two years of probation by a judge in Pittsburgh.

Tiernan was arrested by the FBI in 2012 and charged with a CAN-SPAM violation, confessed immediately, then pleaded guilty in 2013. He noted that the malware he created only marshalled infected computers to serve as proxies for the spam operation and was not used to steal data or extort from victims, the report said.

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