Feeds

Trial set for 'botnet for hire' duo

Zombies R' Us

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.