A federal judge sentenced Jeanson James Ancheta on Monday to 57 months in federal prison for spreading a bot program that compromised thousands of computers and installed adware to net the 20-year-old man more than $100,000 in affiliate revenue.
In January, Ancheta agreed to plead guilty to two conspiracy charges as well as a charge of damaging computers used in national defense and a charge of accessing computers without authorization. The Downey, Calif., resident admitted to selling access to his bot nets in more than 30 transactions to net more than $3,000. The case was billed by prosecutors as the first criminal trial of a person who controlled and profited from a bot net.
Prosecutors and consumer advocates have focused increasingly on the problem of criminals known as bot herders, or bot masters. Last week, another 20-year-old Californian pleaded guilty to causing damage to computers in Seattle's Northwest Hospital when his bot software compromised systems in the healthcare facility. Meanwhile, consumer advocates have attacked adware companies for giving bot herders an incentive by not checking rigorously enough that installations of adware are truly wanted by a system's user. Some bot herders have gone on the defensive, using peer-to-peer technology to make their tracks harder to follow.
Ancheta will server three years of supervised release following his prison term and pay almost $15,000 in restitution to the Weapons Division of the U.S. Naval Air Warface Center in China Lake and the Defense Information Systems Agency for the costs incurred by Ancheta's bots.
Posted by: Robert Lemos