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Zotob perp jailed

Hard time for bot ne'er-do-well

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One of the men behind the Zotob worm was jailed yesterday by a Moroccan court, Agence France-Presse reports. Farid Essebar, aka "Diabl0", received two years for perpetrating the Zotob outrage which exploited a Microsoft Plug and Play vulnerability and attacked computer systems including those of CNN, ABC, the Financial Times and the New York Times back in August 2005.

Fellow Moroccan Achraf Bahloul also got hit with a one year sentence by the court, although he was not directly involved in the Zotob outrage. Rather, he seems to have been caught up in the whole thing for employing Essebar's "Diabl0" alias while using pirated credit card data.

Essebar and his alleged paymaster, Atilla Ekici, aka "Coder", were arrested just 12 days after the attack following an FBI dragnet. Ekici was cuffed in his native Turkey where he has been charged with financing the attack.

The Zotob worm started spreading on 14 August 2005 and mainly affected systems running Windows 2000. Two days later it earned it keep with attacks on the aforementioned corporate systems. As we reported at the time, Zotob and later variants, were all based on versatile attack programs, known as "bot software".

The Zotob worms compromised systems by sending data on port 445. If a computer was infected with the program, the worm created a file-transfer protocol (FTP) server and used it to upload the worm to other vulnerable systems.

The worm showed its pedigree by retaining some bot functionality, Reg security guru John Leyden noted. Computers infected with the worm joined an internet relay chat (IRC) session at a predefined addresses. An attacker who knows the IRC channel password could command the bot to disconnect or reconnect to the IRC channel, obtain system information, clean itself from the system, modify security settings, and download or execute files.

The worm, dubbed Botzor2005 by its creator, contained both Diabl0's and Coder's handles. The worm acknowledged Coder as well as it tried to connect to an IRC channel named diabl0.turkcoders.net. ®

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