Botmaster fesses to the Feds

A 20 year old man from California alleged to be a prominent member of the ‘Botmaster Underground’ has admitted to recruiting armies of ‘bot’ machines to sends out millions of spam emails. He has also confessed to renting out his botnet so that users were bombarded with pop up ads.

Jeanson James Ancheta is said to have illegally taken control of some half a million computers including some belonging to the US military.

The prosecution is said to be the first of its kind involving so called ‘botnets’. These are thousands of machines that have been infected with a worm or similar malware. They are taken over remotely by an attacker and used either to deliver spam or to mount denial of service attacks.

Often, the machines owners have no idea that their PCs are being unwittingly used for illegal purposes.

Under a plea bargaining agreement, Mr Ancheta has pleaded guilty and is expected to receive a sentence of between from four years to six years in jail if the judge agrees.

He also agreed to pay $15,000 (£8,800) in compensation to the military facilities affected and hand over the proceeds of his bot spree including more than $60,000 in cash and a luxury BMW.

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