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Feds Put More Botmasters, Phishers Behind Bars

The FBI today released details of several cybercrime cases against individuals accused of defrauding banks, companies and consumers of more than $20 million with the help of "botnets," large groupings of hijacked personal computers.

The computer crime crackdown is Part Two of "Operation Bot Roast," a series of investigations the FBI first detailed this summer. To date, the operation has has identified more than two million individual PCs compromised by at least 10 individuals who have since pleaded guilty, been indicted or sentenced for various bot-related computer crimes.

Click on the name of the individual below for a copy of his indictment and more details on the case:

* Ryan Brett Goldstein, 21, of Ambler, Pa., was indicted on Nov. 1 for orchestrating attacks from a botnet of 50,000 PCs against various online chat networks. Goldstein, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, is accused of working with an individual from New Zealand to carry out the attacks. The FBI said additional suspects are being sought in that case.

* In a case being conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, Robert Matthew Bentley of Panama City, Fla., was indicted Tuesday for allegedly installing ad-serving software on more than 100 computers owned by Newell Rubbermaid.

* Adam Sweaney, 27, of Tacoma, Wash., pled guilty on Sept. 24 to maintaining a botnet of hundreds of thousands of compromised PCs, which he then rented out to spammers and people who wanted to use the bot network to knock certain Web sites offline. Sweaney also admitted to selling access to tens of millions of hijacked Hotmail and Yahoo! Webmail accounts.

* Florida residents Alexander Dmitriyevich Paskalov, 38, and Azizbek Takhirovich Mamadjanov, 21, were sentenced to 42 months and 24 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in phishing scams targeting multiple U.S. banks. Over a four month period beginning in March 2006, the routed millions of dollars stolen from phishing victims to shell companies that they created and controlled.

Other individuals named in Part II of Operation Bot Roast include three people whose cases have already received significant media attention, including that of John Schiefer, 26, of Los Angeles, who has pleaded guilty to installing adware on a botnet of at least a quarter million hacked PCs. Security Fix featured an exclusive interview with Schiefer earlier this month.

Also named was Gregory King, 21, of Fairfield, Calif., who was indicted in September for carrying out online attacks against CastleCops, an all-volunteer group that fights phishing and virus attacks.

Finally, Jason Michael Downey, 24, of Dry Ridge, Ky., who was named in the original Bot Roast operation, was sentenced to a year in prison for running a botnet of about 6,000 machines, which he used to attack others online.

By Brian Krebs  |  November 29, 2007; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Fraud , U.S. Government  
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