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TK worm suspect taken down

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A US hacker convicted of infecting Department of Defense with a computer worm was last week sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.

Raymond Paul Steigerwalt, a 21 year-old Indiana resident and former member of the Thr34t Krew hacking group, was also ordered to pay $12,000 to the DoD in compensation for the damage he'd caused at a hearing before the US District Court in Alexandria.

Steigerwalt pleaded to a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud over his hacking activities along with a separate charge over possession of child pornography at an earlier hearing in January 2005. Between October 2002 to March 2003 Steigerwalt was a member of the Thr34t Krew, a hacking group blamed by prosecutors for the creation of the TK worm.

The worm exploited well-known vulnerabilities in Microsoft's IIS Web Server to spread across the Internet and install backdoors under the control of hackers onto infected systems. At least two computers belonging to the Department of Defense were infected and damaged by the worm.

The TK worm enabled infected computers to be controlled over an IRC channel. A variety of actions, from scanning other computers for vulnerabilities to starting DDoS attacks on other computers and Web sites, could be initiated from infected hosts.

The worm caused disruption and damage to computer systems in the UK and elsewhere estimated at £5.5m, according to estimates from the UK's National High Tech Crime Unit that accompanied the September 2003 arrest of two UK men suspected of membership of the Thr34t Krew. Jordan Bradley, of Bates Avenue, Darlington, and Andrew Harvey, of Scardale Way, Durham, have since both pleaded guilty to computer crime offences. Both are yet to be sentenced. ®

Related stories

Network worm uses weak Windows passwords
US and UK arrests in computer worm probe
UK police release TK worm suspects
Two Brits charged with releasing TK worm

Related links

DoJ statement on Steigerwalt case (PDF)

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