Feeds

Suspected bot master busted

First America

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

“ This is the first case to charge someone for using bots for generating profits. On the one hand, he is selling bots to other people so that they can (perform) denial-of-service attacks and spam to make money. And on the other hand, he is using bots to make affiliate income. ”

James Aquilina, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Central District of California

Prosecutors soon determined that a single person was behind both events and quickly focused on Ancheta. In raids executed in December 2004 and in May 2005 on Ancheta's Downey, California residence, prosecutors seized three computers and discovered chat logs that described numerous sales of small numbers of bots and the success of an alleged collaboration with a Florida man to garner affiliate fees through click fraud.

According to the indictment, Ancheta created a customized version of a publicly available bot software package known as "rxbot". He allegedly used the software to infect nearly 400,000 systems. While he made nearly $3,000 selling hundreds or thousands of compromised machines to would-be bot herders, the vast majority of his profit was from installing adware on the compromised systems and using them to generate pay-for-click affiliate fees, according to the indictment.

Ancheta allegedly received checks from GammaCash, an affiliate program run by Gamma Entertainment, and from LOUDcash, a program run by CDT, which was acquired by advertising firm 180solutions. Renamed Zango in April, 180solutions' CDT subsidiary had already canceled Ancheta's account, according to company spokesman Sean Sundwall.

The Bellevue, Washington-based company, whose past advertising tactics gained the ire of many Internet users, has aggressively pursued click fraudsters, Sundwall said.

On Thursday, the company announced that it had cooperated with the FBI in a separate investigation against the three Dutch men arrested in October on charges of controlling 1.5 million compromised PCs. While the company had not worked with the FBI and Department of Justice on the latest case, executives extended the offer to help, he said.

The company has also created a more secure version of its advertising software that should prevent the program from being installed without a computer users' knowledge, Sundwall said. The software will be released before the end of the year.

"We are aiming to remove any financial incentive (for fraudsters) to do this sort of thing," he said.

Ancheta appeared briefly in court on Thursday and is being held pending post-indictment arraignment on Monday and a bail hearing set for Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aquilina said.

If found guilty of all charges, Ancheta could be sentenced to a maximum of 50 years in prison.

Copyright © 2005, SecurityFocus

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.