Computer Crime Research Center


US 'spybot' computer crime

Date: November 10, 2007

A hacker from a "botnet underground" group that infected nearly a quarter-million computers with spy software is pleading guilty to criminal charges, US prosecutors said Friday.

John Schiefer agreed to plead guilty to fraud and illegal wiretap charges carrying a maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison and a 1.75 million dollar fine, according to Thom Mrozek of the US Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Schiefer and accomplices spread "spybot" computer code that took over people's machines, turning them into "zombies" manipulated from elsewhere without owners knowing, according to Mrozek.

The invading software let Schiefer and his accomplices intercept electronic communications and extract information from supposedly secure storage areas in computers with Microsoft operating systems, according to court documents.

The stolen data was mined for PayPal online financial service accounts and passwords, which were then used to buy things on the Internet using other people's identities, Mrozek said.
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