The high-profile ‘bot roast’ police operation against botnetters around the globe has cooked its latest victim.
Florida-based Robert Matthew Bentley has been sentenced to 41 months prison sentence, and handed a $65,000 (£32,500 approx) fine, for running an operation that targeted US household products vendor Newell Rubermaid, overloading its websites with unwanted traffic from infected ‘zombie’ PCs in the UK and Europe.
This follows on from previous, if unrelated, cases in the same operation, notably the New Zealand teen caught installing adware and carrying out Dos attacks, and a case from this week in which another individual pleaded guilty to attacking the crime-busting Castlecops website.
According to the Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit, which started investigations against Bentley, his motivation for running the botnet between October 2005 and November 2006 on infected PCs was to make money by displaying spam adverts. He received payment for the ads through a Dutch company, Dollar Revenue, whose adware was used to supply the visuals.
As the investigation widened into his activities - he was said to have used the online name ‘LSDigital’ - the US Secret Service became involved, as did security vendor Sophos, which rushed to claim some of the credit for the latest case. Other US-based suspects are still being investigated.
"This sends out a strong message to would-be hackers that they could well end up behind bars.” said “Carole Theriault of Sophos.
"These computer criminals have no qualms about infecting computers around the world and causing thousands of pounds of damages," chimed Bob Burls, detective constable with the Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit.
"In their greed, they cause devastating damage to both private and company computers. The sentence Bentley has received will act as a deterrent and show that regardless of where you are in the world, if you commit this type of crime, we will bring you to justice.”
Convictions is such cases are still, unfortunately, rare, thanks in no small measure to the difficulties in getting authorities in different countries to co-operate. Criminals exploit the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to define where a crime has been committed. Operation Bot Roast appears to have tilted the balance in favour of the law, at least for criminals based in countries willing to work together, such as the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.