Hackers Plead Guilty to Creating Mirai Botnet

Dec 14, 2017, 10:55
Hackers Plead Guilty to Creating Mirai Botnet

Bill Walton, a special agent who oversees the Anchorage FBI's Cyber Crime unit, said the botnet's name is a reference to a Japanese anime called Mirai Nikki, which loosely translated into English means "future diary".

Meanwhile, the Justice Department also alleged that between December 2016 to February 2017, Jha and Norman successfully infected over 100,000 US -based computing devices, such as home internet routers, with malicious software.

Jha now lives at home with his parents, but according to a local newspaper report, he also admitted repeatedly crashing the University's computer network between 2014 and 2016, and anonymously taunting University staff about the attacks.

Paras Jha, 21, of New Jersey along with two others Josiah White, 20, from Pennsylvania and Dalton Norman, 21, from Louisiana also pleaded guilty to creating and operating two botnets previous year, which targeted "Internet of Things" (IoT) devices, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

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Prosecutors said Jha had sold the botnet to other criminals online, as well as threatening companies with similar DDoS attacks unless they paid.

Paras Jha, 21, of Fanwood, faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, U.S. officials announced, after he pled guilty to his involvement in a series of distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS), between November 2014 and September 2016.

Although DDoS attacks are nothing new, the Mirai botnet demonstrates new levels of firepower that can cripple web services. The men have each been charged in Alaska with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, also known as the CFAA, a hacking statute which prohibits unauthorized access to networks, computer and other devices.

Jha was first listed as a possible suspect behind the attacks in January 2017, but his father, Anand Jha, told NJ Advance Media he was confident his son had no involvement with the attacks.

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Jha also agreed to a guilty plea for posting the source code for Mirai on a hacker forum, which allowed others to use it for subsequent attacks.

A former New Jersey college student has copped to helping create and run the massive Mirai DDoS botnet. Then later in the year, Norman had helped the two to expand the size of their botnet by exploiting even more vulnerabilities in the IoT devices.

During the DDOS attacks, Mirai flooded the internet connection of a targeted computer, thereby crippling it.

The count to which Jha pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of United States dollars 250,000, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain or loss derived from the offence, whichever is greater.

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