I’m following the evolution of Mirai botnet since MalwareMustDie shared with me the findings of its investigation in August 2016.
Now three individuals who admitted to being the authors of the infamous botnet avoided the jail after helping feds in another cybercrime investigations.
The three men, Josiah White (21) of Washington, Pennsylvania; Paras Jha (22), of Fanwood, New Jersey, and Dalton Norman (22), of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to developing and running the dreaded Mirai botnet that was involved in several massive DDoS attacks.
The identification and conviction of the three men is the result of an international joint cooperation between government agencies in the US, UK, Northern Ireland, and France, and private firms, including Palo Alto Networks, Google, Cloudflare, Coinbase, Flashpoint, Oath, Qihoo 360 and Akamai.
According to the plea agreements, White developed the Telnet scanner component used by Mirai, Jha created the botnet’s core infrastructure and the malware’s remote control features, while Norman developed new exploits.
Jha, who goes online with the moniker “Anna-senpai” leaked the source code for the Mirai malware on a criminal forum, allowing other threat actors to use it and making hard the attribution of the attacks.
Jha also pleaded guilty to carrying out multiple DDoS attacks against his alma mater Rutgers University between November 2014 and September 2016, before creating the Mirai botnet. According to the authorities, the three earned roughly $180,000 through their click fraud scheme.
The Mirai case was investigated by the FBI Field Office in Anchorage, and the Chief U.S. District Judge in Alaska sentenced the men.
“U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that three defendants have been sentenced for their roles in creating and operating two botnets, which targeted “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices. Paras Jha, 22, of Fanwood, New Jersey; Josiah White, 21, of Washington, Pennsylvania; and Dalton Norman, 22, of Metairie, Louisiana, were sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess.” states the press release published by the DoJ.
“On Dec. 8, 2017, Jha, White, and Norman pleaded guilty to criminal Informations in the District of Alaska charging them each with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act in operating the Mirai Botnet. Jha and Norman also pleaded guilty to two counts each of the same charge, one in relation to the Mirai botnet and the other in relation to the Clickfraud botnet.”
On Tuesday, the DoJ revealed on Tuesday that each of the men was sentenced to five years of probation and 2,500 hours of community service.
The judges required them to repay $127,000, and they have voluntarily handed over huge amounts of cryptocurrency that the authorities seized as part of the investigation on the botnet.
The three men have “cooperated extensively” with the authorities helping the FBI on complex cybercrime investigations before the sentence. The trio will continue to offer their support to the feds.
“After cooperating extensively with the FBI, Jha, White, and Norman were each sentenced to serve a five-year period of probation, 2,500 hours of community service, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $127,000, and have voluntarily abandoned significant amounts of cryptocurrency seized during the course of the investigation.” continues the press release.
” As part of their sentences, Jha, White, and Norman must continue to cooperate with the FBI on cybercrime and cybersecurity matters, as well as continued cooperation with and assistance to law enforcement and the broader research community.”
(Security Affairs – Mirai, botnet)