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Hacker behind P2P botnet gets no jail time

Turns to good after spawning Nugache

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A hacker who confessed he created one of the world's first botnets to use peer-to-peer technology won't spend any time in prison because of the assistance he's provided to prosecutors.

Jason Michael Milmont, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years of supervised probation and a year of home confinement. US District Judge William Downes of Casper, Wyoming also ordered him to pay almost $37,000 in restitution. The relatively lenient sentence - he faced a maximum five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine - came in exchange for help he's provided prosecutors since pleading guilty.

"This young man has quite a bit of talent and we asked that he turn that talent toward good," said John Powell, a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Cheyenne. "He's helped us somewhat toward that."

Last year, Milmont admitted to creating the so-called Nugache Worm, which spawned one of the first botnets to use a decentralized system to send instructions to drones, according to security researcher Dave Dittrich. The peer-to-peer mechanism was considered a break-through because it eliminated the need for a single master control channel. That made it much harder to shut down the botnet.

Milmont used AOL instant messenger and modified Limewire installation programs to spread Nugache. Once clicked on, the malware made unwitting users part of a botnet, which Milmont used to steal user names, passwords. and account numbers of those who were infected.

According to a plea agreement penned by Milmont, he also used the botnet to mount distributed denial-of-service attacks against an unnamed online business located in the Los Angeles area. The agreement went on to document the way he used credit card and other information to order merchandise that he had shipped to vacant homes in Cheyenne. ®

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