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Estonian DDoS revenge worm crafter jailed

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An Estonian virus writer has been jailed for two and a half years for creating a Windows worm family that launched denial of service attacks on the websites of a local insurance firm and ISP.

Artur Boiko, 44, was convicted by a jury of creating the Allaple worm and sentenced to two years and seven months following a trial. Boiko pleaded not guilty but prosecutors persuaded the jury that he became a malware author in late 2006 to seek revenge against insurance firm IF following a dispute over a rejected car accident insurance claim.

The Allaple worm family spread fairly widely across the net and launched a denial of service attack from infected machines against three pre-programmed targets: if.ee,
 www.online.if.ee (the insurance firm's customer portal) and 
www.starman.ee (an Estonian ISP).

The fairly basic SYN Flood attacks launched by Allaple nonetheless had a debilitating effect on the targeted websites during the early part of 2007, as explained in a March 2007 blog entry by the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre here. This run of attacks predated much larger attacks on Estonian government and bank websites that accompanied the relocation of Soviet-era war memorials and graves in April 2007.

Boiko, who has already served 19 months on remand awaiting trial, was blamed for creating multiple variants of the worm, an aggravating factor in the offence that goes a long way towards explaining the tough punishment he received for his crimes.

He was also ordered to pay large fines for the damage and inconvenience he caused. A judge ordered him to pay IF Insurance 5.1 million Estonian Kroons ($450,000) and Starman ISP 1.4 million Estonian Kroons ($130,000) in compensation.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at net security firm F-Secure, who provided a run-down of the case in a blog entry here, explains that remnants of the attack are still clogging the internet.

"We detected several variants of Allaple during 2006-2007," he writes. "The problem is that this is not a botnet — these worms have no command and control channel. The infected machines will attack their targets until they are cleaned. There are still thousands of active, infected computers today around the world, and they are still attacking. And the worm is still spreading further." ®

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