Many people wish to have their own IRC network. Once a basic network is setup they advertise the network to gain users, in the hope many will find and start using it. But what if they abuse your good intentions and start using your infrastructure to host bots engaged in illegal activities? Then things can start to become a real life nightmare. In this article we follow Dewd, from network admin to a suspect criminal with a 10 year prison sentence hanging above his head.
Dewd started his network in 2005, and as many fresh network admins do, started advertising the network in as many places he could find such as SearchIRC and mIRC’s servers.ini file.
With the advertising came users, including users he had not wished for. “Two pirates from Undernet have come and started to load their bots with fake nickname and fake channelname (#warez-rose) in secret mode (+s) trying to make it look like peer-to-peer bots but these bots wasn’t for peer-to-peer I think.”
Dewd installed IRC Defender to remove the bots from his network which worked well. But naturally, the bots would not be stopped from trying to connect to the network. Despite trying to keep his network free from such influences Dewd was arrested late February, along with 16 other suspects by S�ret� du Qu�bec, Canadian’s provincial police. The arrests included the two users loading the bots of which one is still in custody, according to Dewd. All 17 people are seen as suspect members of “a vast computer piracy network” as a police report explained.
“Over 100 countries on all of the continents are affected. Current damage to computer infrastructure is estimated at more than $45 million”, the police report explains. The malicious users infected computers with malware in order to steal private data, DDoS, phising and use them for spamming.
“During the 17 searches conducted today, eight suspects were apprehended with an arrest warrant and will appear in court. The police questioned the other nine suspects, who have been released by way of summons.” Maximum sentence for these crimes is 10 years in prison.
Dewd is not one of the eight, but he is not yet cleared as police is still investigating his computers. “The charge against me it’s the uses illegally of a computer.”
“We recommend that anyone who suspects that his computer has been hacked consult a computer specialist” the police report ends. This of course, is an advice IRC-Junkie fully recommends!
Dewd ends, “I’m under investigation since 2006, all what I do is downloading/chat a bit/watching funny video on the web… I’m not that kind of person who DDoS websites. Peer-to-peer isn’t illegal in Canada. I download movies for me and my girl friend, also my kids. I’m not doing money with it, I download because I doesn’t have enough of money for buy them.”
An interview with Dewd for local media can be found here (French). The English language police report can be found here