Feeds

Trial set for 'botnet for hire' duo

Zombies R' Us

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A federal judge has cleared the way for the trial of two men accused of waging a cyber attack on a webhosting company so they could demonstrate the effectiveness of their botnet to potential customers.

The trial of Thomas James Frederick Smith, 21, most recently of Parris Island, South Carolina, and David Anthony Edwards, 20, of Mesquite, Texas, is scheduled to begin on November 16, according to documents filed in federal court in Dallas. The men were indicted in April on a single count each of conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.

Each has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege that that pair, who went by handles including "Zook," "kingsmith007" and "Davus," developed botnet software they dubbed Nettick. They then advertised their botnet services online and told one potential purchaser they had infected nearly 22,000 computers with the malware. They offered to sell each for 15 cents with a minimum purchase of 5,000, according to the indictment.

To show the power of their zombie net, in August 2006 they enlisted a portion of it to carry out a DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attack on an IP address used by ThePlanet.com. The prospective customer then offered to buy the Nettick source code and the entire botnet for about $3,000.

Smith directed the purchaser to place a $1,600 down payment into an E-Gold account. The money was eventually transferred to a bank account under Smith's control, prosecutors said.

In September 2006, the men also allegedly breached systems operated by another webhost, T35.net. Once in, they extracted shadow password files and used a password cracking tool to extract hundreds of thousands of user IDs and access codes. The pair then defaced the website and rebuked T35 admins with the words "How are all the users going to be compensated?"

If convicted, the pair face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 each. US District Judge Jane J. Boyle will preside over the trial. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.