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FBI Arrests Three Botherders

With the arrest of three suspect botherders the FBI discovered botnets that consist of about a million infected machines worldwide. Amongst the charges for the three are spamming and infecting IT systems at hospitals.

The operation took place under the name “Operation Bot Roast”, which is an on-going operation to hunt down botnets and their owners.

Among the three men arrested is Robert Soloway from Seattle, a long time spam king. Another man, Downey, controlled his botnet consisting of Agobot infected machines from an IRC server and performed DDoS attacks.

The FBI will try and warn the 1 million owners of infected machines and point them to safe computing practices.

IRC Still Most Used Platform for Botnets

Although botnet masters increasingly use platforms other then IRC to command their zombie networks, it remains the biggest platform in use to date.

These botnets are being used by malicious users to perform DDoS attacks, collect personal data such as banking info and creditcard details and for example to use as a base to send spam. The machines used in the botnets are usually compromised home PC’s.

About 75% of the software used in botnets consists of Sdbot and Gaobot. “This dominance is not so much due to any special features of Gaobot or Sdbot, but simply because their code is much more widely available on the Internet. This means that any criminals that want to make a bot can simply base it on the source code of these threats, making any modifications they choose. Essentially, this saves them a lot of work,” said Luis Corrons, technical director at PandaLabs.

IRC networks have been very active in hunting and shutting down botnets. Also security software such as firewalls increasingly warn users for IRC traffic, adding to the chance that the compromised machine is being cleaned. To prevent detection, the botnets increasingly are making use of HTTP, normal website traffic which is far less being looked suspiciously at. Also peer-to-peer type of networks are now in use.

“Control through IRC is useful for controlling isolated computers. However, this system is not so useful when it comes to botnets. By using HTTP, bot herders can control many more computers at the same time, and can even see when one of them is online or if the commands have been executed correctly,” Corrons continued.

Couple Arrested for Seeking Sex with Underage Girl

A couple from Portland, U.S.A., traveled to Woodland, Washington, to trade marijuana for sex with a 5-year-old girl, but instead ended up being arrested.

Christopher Dudley, 26, and Rhea Hamm, 22, chatted in an IRC channel of a top10 SearchIRC listed network with the father of the girl, who in reality was an undercover police officer.

After a series of chats Dudley agreed with the ‘father’ to have oral sex with the girl and to make photos. Also his wife would take part in the abuse. In a chat Dudley told the ‘father’ he told Hamm before the marriage of his “fetish”, “but she said she loved me and didn’t care what I was into.”

In telephone contacts following the chats Dudley said the couple wanted to get a daughter to life the “lifestyle”, as they call it.

“This case shows the extraordinary lengths some adults will go to sexually exploit innocent children,” said Mike McCool, working as deputy special agent at the Seattle office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Court documents show that Dudley sees himself as a “decent” person with a “weird” fetish. The maximum sentence for crossing a state border in order to have sex with an under 12 is life in prison.

Fyle/Anatoly Admits Guilt

Bringing criminals to justice takes time, a lot of time. Back in October 2004 we reported about the arrest of Fyle/Anatoly, who was causing havoc on the Darkmyst network, as well as many others.

Fyle/Anatoly, named Richard C. Honour of Kenmore, Washington and 30-years-old, was arrested in suspicion of writing viruses which were being spread by trying to trick IRC users in using malicious links. A total of 21 networks had to deal with it and prevent innocent users from being infected.

The goal of the virus was to collect personal information in order to abuse for financial gain.

Honour has pleaded guilty for the count of spreading viruses.

He will hear his sentence in May, and if convicted can get up to 5 years of jail and a $250,000 fine.

Finnish Paedophiles Found Victims on IRC

Helsinki Police have arrested nine men in and around Helsinki, of which three have been tried and convicted, and the rest remain suspects.

They have been sexually exploiting thirty children in the range six to seventeen years old in hundreds of separate crimes.

One of the suspects is a teacher who abused his position. In other cases the suspects used IRC and message boards to make contact with children.

The nine arrested were not organized, although some of them had contact with each other.