back to article BOFH-loving botmaster wants life as security consultant

An American security consultant who stole hundreds of thousands of online bank passwords by employing a massive botnet that he often administered from work deserves at least five years in prison, prosecutors have told a federal judge. The request for a minimum 60-month sentence, followed by five years of supervised release, …


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  1. LaeMi Qian

    Little lasting damage.

    I guess if we beat him up without damaging internal organs, that would be little lasting damage too.

    Hmmm, malware makes the CPU work harder and draw more power. Will he be getting hit with a carbon tax??

  2. James O'Brien

    Say WHAT?!?!?!1

    This guy wants an easier sentence, for something he did that stole money and peoples identities, while committing a violation being on parole, passing along info to other thieves, all WHILE BEING A SECURITY CONSULTANT PAID TO FIND AND FIX SECURITY RELATED ISSUES, because he has a "substance abuse problem and was 'sexually' abused"??!!

    Umm am I the only one who damn near burst a blood vessel in the head trying to figure out this one? What a fucking retard. Seriously if those were mitigating factors then shouldnt they have been talked about and handled the first time around with the law? Throw the book at him!

    /mines the one with the half full bottle of Advil in it

  3. Pierre

    5 years?

    Seriously, prosecution is asking for 5 years behind the bars for this (which may or may not be appropriate). But some nutters still want to deport McKinnon to the US. If this guy deserves 5 years (and he's going to get much less, presumably: this is the prosecution request), McKinnon should get a few 10s hrs of community service. Is it really worth an extradition?

  4. Richard

    Rot ...

    I'm dealing with spam and many many other bots all the bloody time. Let him sit and stew in prison and think about this crimes.

  5. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    Rot rot rot

    "Let him sit and stew in prison and think about this crimes."

    He won't be thinking about his crimes, he'll be thinking of the abuse and how he will do things differently next time and do it harder just to get even.

    Prison is a boys club. All that talk about abuse there is stupidly ill informed. The worst that will happen is he can't talk to women and go out for a pint with his mates.

    No difference there then.

  6. Rogers

    Cut His Goolies Off

    That is all.

  7. Rafael



    Anyone knows where to find a good flamethrower????

    PPT Warriors escort, maybe??

  8. night troll

    @ Pierre

    IIRC they want to put McKinnon on trial in a military court because he "hacked" military computers, so it will not be community service it'll be hard time in Levenworth or where ever it is they put spies and traitors these days. Just 'cause he showed up their crap security they think of him as a spy.

  9. Anonymous John

    "ultimately did not steal much money"

    Over a quarter of a million zombies and hundreds of thousands of stolen passwords, and he wasn't able to steal much?

    Since when is claiming to be an incompetent crook mitigation?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    A time for reflection........

    5 years sharing a cell with Big Bubba as his "special friend" will make him focus on being more law abiding next time.

    Paris, even she wouldnt try an excuse as dumb as his

  11. David Harper

    Definition of chutzpah

    I'm reminded of the old joke about the teenager who murders his parents, and then begs the judge not to send him to jail because he's just a poor orphan.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's getting like SPAM


    Free Download - The Business Case for Virtualization

    at the bottom of every article.

    Got nothing to do with this article, of course, but I just needed to tell you, hey, your readers have nerves, and endless repetition gets on them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    So Wrong

    The article is so far off it's ridiculous. And you clowns commenting don't get that this wasn't "today's malware". This was a zombie net, and the damages were non-existant as they needed the combined bandwidth. Blame the lackeys for the stolen passes and such.

    Article author - see original Reg article and STFU.

  14. Chris C

    re: Say WHAT?!?!?!1

    No, you're not the only one. I seriously want to know how the defense attorney could write and submit that without laughing. Who knows, maybe he was laughing at the time. I cannot for the life of me understand how "didn't steal MUCH money" can possibly be a mitigating factor. Everything he did screams "lock me up for life" to me, especially when he did it from work, employed as a security consultant. I'd love to know the defense's definition of "lasting damage", since the attacks against his victims (from him and those he passed the information onto) will have identity and financial consequences for years to come. Not to mention the immediate cost of cleaning his malware off of the system, a cost most people probably won't be able to afford right now.

    And am I the only one who's sick of tired of people trying to blame everyone else for their actions? Substance abuse and sexual abuse do not dictate this sort of behavior. You committed a crime, you fucked up, you got caught. Deal with it. There's a reason we have laws. When we show people that criminals can do pretty much whatever they want and get away with it, we show them that it's acceptable behavior and that the laws are meaningless.

    People like this, who knowingly, willingly, and intentionally cause damage to others, especially on a massive scale like this, need to be shown that their behavior is not acceptable. And other people need to be shown that this behavior is not acceptable. "Oh, but he didn't cause much lasting damage". That doesn't matter. He *INTENDED* to, as evidenced by his attitude and his passing of the information to others. We, as a global society, need to show that this behavior will not be tolerated, that it has serious consequences. He should be made to personally apologize to every person affected, and remove his malware from their system (supervised by a competent tech to make sure he does remove it without causing additional damage). He should be made to reimburse every affected person for however much this ultimate costs them, including the cost of lifetime credit monitoring (lifetime, not this meaningless "one year of monitoring" that banks and companies get away with). He should be made to give back a portion of his paycheck to his employer for he spent not doing his job. He should be made to personally apologize to his employer and pay them back for whatever this ultimate costs them (if any), including lost business resulting from this. Finally, he should be made to perform some laborious task (think prison chain gang) uncomfortable enough to discourage him from even thinking about doing this again.

  15. Steve Roper

    5 years? FIVE YEARS?!?

    FFS, if the stupid bastards don't have the decency to show this little fucker to the end of a rope then at least they could give him fifty years instead! Five years, he'll be out and doing it all over again. And pleading sexual abuse? I don't care if he was arse-ra[ disgusting and horrific child-abuse description censored due to UK decency laws ]nd a mining drill, it has nothing to do with his ruining thousands of peoples' lives. String the little bastard up, I say!


  16. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Bots? No. ID theft? yes

    In my view, the 250,000 bot net is really not a big deal, if as he claims it did not cause any harm. I mean I certainly wouldn't start one up, but with these windows holes these days, it's not that hard to get a botnet that size. Also, he' s probably right that the bot did not harm the machines it's on. In addition, although ironic, doing it from work is a work issue more than a legal issue.

    HOWEVER, the ID theft is a big deal. So he (through his lawyer) gets real weasely and says he "ultimately did not steal much money". Well, OK, he maybe didn't *steal* much money.. this doesn't say if he made tons of money reselling these illegally obtained account infos or not. This is super-greasy and he should get 5 years for this alone.

    "Prison is a boys club. All that talk about abuse there is stupidly ill informed. The worst that will happen is he can't talk to women and go out for a pint with his mates."

    This depends on the prison, and on if he behaves respectably or not. I know a few people who were inside.. one was in for 2 days presumably at a rougher prison and had to kick the crap out of someone on day one, they tried to "take it from him". The other was in longer (in a different prison) and said people had no problem as long as they treated each other with respect, the ones who were not respectful had problems. So I'm guessing he'll almost immediately try to defraud his fellow inmates, and then they'll abuse him plenty.

  17. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Going through the motions.

    "2 days presumably at a rougher prison and had to kick the crap out of someone on day one, they tried to "take it from him".."

    It takes longer than two days to get processed. You won't get to see anyone in that time. While they don't know who you are you get locked up 23/7. If he kicked the crap out of anyone he'd be in a lot longer than 2 days. Was in for telling fibs?

    He could do that standing on his head. Take what from him? They wouldn't put a violent or an aggressive man in with someone till he'd been sorted.

    "people had no problem as long as they treated each other with respect, the ones who were not respectful had problems."

    A bit like real life that isn't it?

    "So I'm guessing he'll almost immediately try to defraud his fellow inmates"

    Of what? There is nothing to steal. You sit around doing what you like, smoking and chatting mostly and if you don't want to work you don't work. What are they going to do? Put you in gaol?

  18. Lionel Baden


    id shit myself if i had to go into one !!!

    I dunno if the guy deserves a good buggering in prison, but he deserves to pay for his deeds !!

    i agree prison shouldnt be nice e.g. manual labour etc, but when you put them at risk ?? not a good idea

  19. f1re gr1d

    "Quit bein' a bitch and claim it"

    Greets from EFNet.

  20. Dave
    Thumb Down


    Substance abuse may be some sort of excuse for rolling round the floor in your own excrement, or picking a fight with a stranger, but surely not for a careful, methodical, drawn-out demonstration of higher than average intellect.

    I only think that I program better when I'm pissed, never tried it high and don't think I ever will.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why we use multiple cross checks on our staff

    Seriously, there is no way I would consider using someone unless I have at least two independent OKs from sources I trust. Most of my guys have 3, and tend to appreciate why we audit. It's a pain, but we have to: plenty of criminals around - and idiots.

    The ONLY barrier between discovering security issues and abuse thereof is an almost overdeveloped sense of ethics. Unless I can sense that being present you won't even go in for the trial period. There is not a single argument for using someone like that in security because he cannot assure the single most critical component for security work: trust.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I approve of reducing his sentence

    If that reduction entails spending a few hours everyday with me, a closed room, an industrial stapler and a bucket of eels.

    Mine's the one the ballgag in the pocket.

    P.S. There should be a BOFH icon, really.

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