Feeds

I Was A Teenage Bot Master

The Confessions of SoBe Owns

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The Botnet Victims Fund

Ancheta's 57-month sentence immediately rocked chat rooms where SoBe and other would-be botherders spent time. Because the federal system generally doesn't award time off for good behavior, it meant Ancheta would have spent roughly one-fifth of his life behind bars by the time he was released. This came as a severe shock to SoBe.

"Everyone thinks its retarded pretty much," said SoBe. "But its not going to stop anyone from doing bots. i think at most he shouldve faced a fine, probation, etc not be sentenced to jail for stupid shit that didnt hurt anyone if you think about it."

Even then, SoBe was having a hard time accepting that he might have to walk away permanently from a line of work he had found so easy and lucrative. "there are people still making what james made in 6 months in one month, for a year straight," he said. "they will never be caught." He continued: "me and james wouldnt be in this situation if he never opened #botz4sale," wallpapering over the substantial role he played in his own demise.

While SoBe spent the next year-and-half agonizing over the prospect of being indicted, Ancheta sat behind bars, first in a federal facility in California and eventually at the Federal Correctional Institution in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

It was precisely the kind of routine SoBe dreaded. It called for Ancheta to work 37.5 hours a week at just $1.15 per hour doing manual labor. Worse - from Ancheta's perspective anyway - was a requirement that 50 per cent of his income be subtracted from his paycheck and paid as restitution to some of his botnet victims under something dubbed IFRP, or inmate financial responsibility program.

Receipt FBI left after confiscating SoBe's

My house was raided and all I got was this receipt

"In light of the fact that defendant is being coerced and extorted to acquiesce into the (IFRP) Program which is a core judicial function that is 'only' delegated to the sentencing court, defendant requests of the court to allow him to set a scheduling payment with the court upon his release," Ancheta argued in a petition he filed in December on his own behalf. Ancheta argued that while he was incarcerated, he should only pay $25 every three months toward the more than $14,000 he was required to pay in restitution.

US District Judge Gary Klausner, the same jurist who sentenced Ancheta to nearly five years in prison, was largely unmoved by the arguments. Klausner ordered Ancheta to pay 40 per cent of his earnings while he is in prison.

Run For The Border?

Despite claims that he had been close to Ancheta, SoBe remained unaware of his friend's new life behind bars because he never bothered to send him a letter. Instead, SoBe, the youngest of three teenage kids, continued to live at home with his parents. My correspondence with him remained largely dormant until he received word that feds were close to indicting a botnet confederate who went by the name Acid.

"Time for me to pack up and go to mexico or something," SoBe said last August. "If they got him to talk about other people he could easily put away dozens and those dozens lead to more."

In November, after getting a link to a story reporting that Acid, who in real life was 26-year-old John Kenneth Schiefer, agreed to plead guilty to four felonies connected to botnets, he was verbally upset.

"Dynamic what a fag," SoBe said, referring to another online alias Schiefer used. "I hope he gets jail time. I just linked that to a friend and hes like 'DUDE FUCK I CONTROLL ALL OF HIS SHIT WTF.' Oh well time to go buy a new hd."

Within a month, SoBe said federal prosecutors told him he was going to be charged and suggested he plead guilty. SoBe's attorney made arrangements for him to fly to Los Angeles to be arraigned rather than being arrested in Florida and flown out by the FBI. Three months later, SoBe pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

By then, SoBe's parents had, at long last, canceled his internet connection, so his thoughts during the final weeks leading up to his sentencing are unknown. According to an older brother, SoBe spent his days taking classes to prepare for the General Educational Development tests, in keeping with his settlement agreement with prosecutors.

But if one of his last conversations is any guide, SoBe had grown tired of wondering if he was going to be charged.

"At least ill know if its finally over," he said. "they told me like 2 years ago i was being indicted then never said anything after that so i sort of figured it was coming. it sucks, but i guess i have to pay for shit i did when i was a kid." ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.