Man sentenced to 30 months for selling access to a 72,000 computer botnet for $1,500

Man sentenced to 30 months for selling access to a 72,000 computer botnet for $1,500

For this kind of jail time, I bet that Joshua Schichtel wishes that he had extracted a higher price for the work that has now put him away. The Arizona man, after pleading guilty, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.

The charges? According to PC World, he pleaded guilty to a count of violating the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for “attempting to cause damage to multiple computers without authorization by the transmission of programs, codes or commands.”

As The Hill has it, Schichtel infected 72,000 computers, to which he sold access at the price of $1,500. That’s not exactly a pile of money, especially when you calculate that at 30 months time in the can, he made about $1.66 for each day he’ll sit in a cell off the transaction.

Botnets are useful for a number of nefarious activities, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS aggression can take websites offline, by flooding them with false queries, rendering them sluggish, or utterly unresponsive.

As PC World pointed out, Schichtel is hardly a babe in such issues. A report in O’Reilly from 2004 has him as a part of a supposed ‘DDoS Mafia.’ Those charges were eventually dropped. According to then Attorney General John Ashcroft, the attacks investigated at that time had material costs to a business of around $2 million.

30 months is no minor blip in the big house. Perhaps others will be a bit less certain that infecting machines to cause mayhem is worth the risk, or the reward.

Top Image Credit: Patrick Hoesly

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