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Five years prison for selling 'bot nets'

 12:56 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

A 20-year-old who prosecutors say highjacked computers to damage computer networks and send waves of spam across the Internet was sentenced on Monday to nearly five years in prison.

Jeanson James Ancheta, a well-known member of the "Botmaster Underground" who pleaded guilty in January to federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and damaging US government computers, was given the longest sentence for spreading computer viruses, federal prosecutors said.

Five years prison for selling 'bot nets' [today.reuters.co.uk]

They seem to be getting tougher on 'net crime these days.



 1:12 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)



It's still OK to run down and kill someone in a car when you're drunk and disqualified/banned and without a licence and you'll get *much* less than 5 years.


The UK-derived legal systems set *way* too high a value on property relative to life and limb. Bv<




 1:20 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)



 3:25 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

re: daily rant

Unfortunately, jail time hasn'r been much of a deterrant for drunk drivers. However, 5 years in jail, with hardened criminals for cell mates, just MAY be a deterrant to some high school kiddies thinking about improving their black hat hacking skills.

Not a justification, just a comment.


 3:43 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have an answer to the DUI problem, but since it would take money out of my pocket, I'll keep it to myself. The harsher the penalty, the higher the fees I can charge. ;)


 4:10 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Five years prison for selling 'bot nets'

Sounds alright to me. Most drunk drivers don't set out to kill someone. They drink too much, drive home, and have an accident. It's still a crime, but there's no willful intent to kill. This guy, on the other hand, set out to cause damage and profit at the expense of others. It's something that needs to be cracked down on.


 4:20 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh, btw, in my state if you kill someone while driving under the influence, you can get up to 15 years in prison per count and you will do at least 90% of the prison sentence.

Haven't had to defend and rogue bots yet, but I doubt it's real high on the DA's hit list.


 6:57 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Lawman: The Uk drink drivce laws are lax - 15 years! Christ youd have to kill and entire town while drink driving for that.

Youd get 2 - 3 years and do a 1year


 7:12 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)


IMHO, if you wilfully get drunk and then take charge of a machine that can easily kill someone, then any "accident" that happens is your responsibility just as surely as if you went to operate a gun or a machine lathe in the same state, or "accidentally" trash someone's machine while pushing unwanted ads on them!

But this is a vexed issue with many points of view, and I've already been mod-ed today at least once for being too harsh, so ignore me. B^>

Next today on Damon's fighting-talk list: s*x, religion and the state of the Rolling Stones' band members, but not all at once. %-P




 7:24 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

He was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release by US District Judge Gary Klausner, who also ordered him to pay $15,000 (8,000 pounds) in restitution to the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Centre in China Lake, California, and forfeit to the government some $60,000 in illicit gains.

So, it's actually an 8 year sentence because he has three years of supervised released. I'd like to see the stipulations of his supervised release. They could be pretty severe.

Ancheta was accused in the original 17-count indictment of hijacking some 500,000 computers using "bots," or programs that surreptitiously install themselves on computers so they can be controlled by a hacker.

500,000 computers? Now, what do you think the monetary damage was? How much monetary damage in the trickle down effect?

He got off lightly. ;)


 7:33 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

He got off lightly

I think the punishment was just about right. If you average the cost at $1,000.00 per computer (which is probably a low estimate) that certainly qualifies as a felony. There was no violence involved and nobody got killed.

However, if he had messed with my computer, I'd probably want the death penalty! :)


 7:37 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

any "accident" that happens is your responsibility

Absolutely. But if I was doing the prosecuting, I wouldn't mind letting off a first-time drunk driver in order to put away a cyberterrorist. I'd personally place a little more importance on the motivation than the end result, because anyone can have a lapse in judgement once.

I'm not saying it's okay to kill people with your car, just that someone who spends all of his time thinking of ways to attack a network or code a new virus is a dangerous person too.


 9:23 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi mcavic,

Thanks for not taking offence: certainly you are right that intention is important and that we have to allow for lapses.

But lapses that kill people remain, IMHO, worse than premediated actions that inconvenience people.

Anyway, at this point we should ask the WW lawman to pass judgement and award ASBOs (UK-style anti-social behaviour orders) to all of us! B^>




 9:34 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks lawman for linking to my post. I'll try not to be so creative with the title next time. :)


 7:30 am on May 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

From what I have read it was not only about "inconvinience" with those bots:


According to the indictment, as the botnet searched for additional computers to compromise, it infected the computer network at Northwest Hospital in north Seattle. (...) doors to the operating rooms did not open, pagers did not work and computers in the intensive care unit shut down.


 9:39 am on May 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi jecasc,

Yes, you are right.

But did he actually kill/maim anyone? This would be the acid test for me. I agree that he could have, and I do advocate punishing dangerous/negligent/reckless drivers (or gun or lathe users, etc) who have only not killed or maimed by pure luck, so we are possibly only arguing about numbers at most.

All these things are shades of grey! An interesting debate.



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