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Malware writer with a 77,000-strong botnet spared jail in California

A 29-YEAR-OLD Californian has had a brush with jail after pleading guilty to charges associated with a 70,000 strong malware botnet that spread bad gear and rained spam down on the internet.

Sean Tiernan, age 29, developed and operated the malware botnet from his home base of Santa Clara California, according to the department of justice.

“Tiernan, from his computer located in California, was involved in the development of malware, or a malicious computer program, which was programmed to infect computers at a rapid rate by spreading through the computer users’ use of social networking websites. Once a computer was infected with the malware, the malware was programmed by Tiernan to automatically communicate and receive direction from servers over the Internet which were controlled by Tiernan, without knowledge of the infected computers’ owners,” said the DoJ in its official court information.

“The combination of these hacked servers and malware-infected computers formed what is known as a botnet. This botnet was controlled by Tiernan and was used to transform the infected victims’ computers into proxy computers from which a high volume of spam (commercial electronic mail) messages could be sent over the Internet to other computers.

“Since on or about at least August 1, 2011, Tiernan would sell access to his botnet to those who sought to send out these commercial electronic email messages for their own personal commercial gain.”

Bleeping Computer reports that Tiernan admitted his guilt as soon as he was arrested in 2012. It adds that according to his lawyer the young man is currently enrolled in the Stanford CyberSecurity Graduate Program and is working toward becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

When he was pinched, in 2012, Tiernan had a 77,000 strong botnet to use and sell on to others. He was sentenced in federal court to 24 months’ probation on the conviction of accessing a protected computer without authorisation and initiating spam messages.

The case was brought against him by the US government. µ

Source : Inquirer

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