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True crime: The botnet barons

True crime: The botnet barons

Two weeks ago, the feds revealed the names of eight people who had used botnets to engage in nefarious activity. Here are their stories

Prior to his arrest, Schiefer says he learned the error of his ways and stopped managing the botnet. In published interviews, he's said that he hopes his cooperation with law enforcement will help lighten his sentence.

The Perp: Robert Bentley Indicted for: coding, controlling, and using botnets to defraud an advertising businessIndictment date: Nov. 27, 2007.

Not only did Robert Bentley spread and manage botnets, but he's the only member of the Bot Roast II party accused of creating an IRC bot for this purpose. Bentley used his bots to foist adware onto the computers of unsuspecting victims, netting considerable cash in the process.

Bentley's botnet of around 100 computers, all located within the corporate network of Newell Rubbermaid -- makers of products such as Sharpie markers and plastic food containers -- spread like a network worm, seeking out nearby computers on the same subnet and exploiting security flaws in Windows to install themselves on other machines.

The only problem was that the bots were too good at seeking out their neighbors and ended up flooding the Rubbermaid corporate network. When that happened, according to the indictment, the "voluminous network traffic generated by this scanning has the effect of simultaneously limiting or even preventing" the infected systems from making network connections.

The victims' computers were infected with the DollarRevenue adware program, which caused popup ads to appear almost continuously. Unfortunately for Bentley, the botnet did not appear to have spread beyond Rubbermaid's corporate network. In the end, Bentley earned less in commissions than it cost the company to restore all the infected computers.


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