Aslo caught in the FBI sweep was John Schiefer, a former security researcher who admitted to hijacking a quarter of a million PCs with the intent to steal bank and PayPal account information and to plant adware on the compromised systems. Schiefer who was also known as "Acidstorm" and "Acid," was a former security consultant at 3G Communications Corp in Los Angeles, and was the first to be charged under federal wiretap statutes for using a botnet.
Three of the individuals named in Friday's FBI's announcement were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 months to 42 months.
It's a small world after all
Friday's FBI announcement is sending the right message to bot-herders, said Dave Marcus, security researcher with McAfee's Avert Labs. "It tells them they can't hide, or they have to do a lot better at hiding themselves," going forward, Marcus said.
What's especially encouraging is the fact that the FBI appears to have garnered quite a bit of support from overseas law enforcement in its efforts, Marcus said. "I like they fact that search warrants were served in other countries," in connection with the FBI initiative, he said, "This crime is global in nature, it's not just a U.S.-centric thing," he said.
According to the FBI spokesman, the support from overseas law enforcement has been "exceptional" so far. "It's absolutely necessary. We can't do these types of investigations without close cooperation from our international partners," he said.
"Since botnets are at the root of nearly all cybercrime activities that we see on the Internet today, the significant deterrence value that arrests and prosecutions such as these provide cannot be underestimated."