Posted on December 14, 2017 at 2:36 PM
The creators behind one of the most damaging malware attacks have pleaded guilty and are facing up to five years in prison.
The two hackers behind the notorious Mirai botnet recently pleaded guilty to charges of threatening cybersecurity last week. The Mirai botnet is one of the biggest botnet attacks to date. The botnet created a network of tens of thousands compromised devices which was responsible for several internet disruptions in 2016.
The two hackers, Paras Jha and Josiah White, pleaded guilty last week and their plea agreements became unsealed this last Wednesday. The hackers were identified by the cybersecurity reporter and researcher, Brian Krebs. Krebs confirmed that Jha and White were likely the creators behind the Mirai botnet earlier this year.
Jha confessed to being responsible for developing and executing the Mirai code last year in July. The Mirai botnet started gaining momentum and notoriety after it attacked Dyn’s website, an internet infrastructure company affiliated with Krebs. The attack was one of the biggest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to date, as it severely disrupted all online activity on the Eastern coast of the US for several hours.
In addition, Jha admitted having released the Mirai code using the pseudonym, Anna Senpai. According to court documents, Jha stated that the pseudonym was chosen so that he could deny accusations in the event that authorities should find and persecute him and his co-creator. The Department of Justice has also confirmed that Jah pleaded guilty to previous hacking charges, where Jha launched a DDoS attack campaign against Rutgers University Between November 2014 and 2016.
White pleaded guilty to being a collaborator in the botnet’s creation. In addition, White confessed to being responsible for scanning the internet for devices to infect with the botnet malware.
During their campaign, Jha and White managed to enlist over 300,000 compromised devices. According to court documents, the two hackers created Mirai in order to profit from it by renting it to other hackers. In addition, Jha, White, and other collaborators used the Mirai botnet to conduct DDoS attacks to rivals in the industry, especially those entities offering their DDoS services to individuals.
Shortly after the court case, the Department of Justice preferred to hold their comments until the case documents have been unsealed. However, since the documents have been unsealed, the Department of Justice confirmed the guilty pleas in an official press release.
However, the chief technology officer of BackConnect, Marsal Webb, has confirmed that there is still another individual thought to be affiliated with the Mirai botnet. The individual, Dalton Norman, is notoriously known in the hacking community as Drake.
Webb’s firm, BackConnect, is an internet security firm who specializes in the DDoS attack. According to Webb, BackConnect provided the FBI with their technical expertise in the course of the investigation. Webb concluded that he was happy to hear that the previously anonymous hackers are being held accountable for their actions.
According to court documents, Norman pleaded guilty to being involved in the DDoS attacks. Like Jha and White, Norman is currently facing a prison sentence of up to five years.
Neither Jha’s, White’s, or Norman’s lawyers have yet responded to comment.