Californian bot herder pleads guilty

The first person to face charges related to profiting from networks of zombie PCs has plead guilty in the US

A US man has pleaded guilty to leasing out networks of compromised computers to criminals so they can carry out denial of service and spam attacks.

Twenty-year old Californian Jeanson James Ancheta faces up to six years in prison for felony charges that include making more than $61,000 (£34,000) from renting the illegal networks and infecting US military computers.

The Associated Press reports that Ancheta, who will be sentenced before a US District Court on 1 May, stands to lose his BMW and more than $58,000.

Reports suggest this could be the first case to take aim at people who profit from 'botnets' — networks of virus-infected computers used by hackers to launch attacks.

Last year Ancheta was charged with 17 counts of conspiracy fraud after a 14-month hacking spree.

James Rendell, senior technology specialist at ISS, said: "Those who actively target businesses and computer users with malicious activities will not get away with it.

"Not only is it reassuring to see the US government prosecuting this 20-year-old where he actively targeted thousands of computer systems and infected them with malicious software for his own financial gain but it also shows the seriousness of this crime spree."