Matjaž Škorjanc, also known as “Iserdo”, has been sentenced to prison for nearly five years by a Slovenian court, after writing a piece of malware used to infect millions of computers around the world.
Computer crime-fighting authorities were successful at bringing down the Mariposa botnet at the end of 2009. But at its height, the botnet (named after the Spanish word for “butterfly”) had silently compromised and hijacked almost 13 million computers in more than 190 countries.
The polymorphic malware behind the Mariposa botnet was Rimecud, which spread between computers using a variety of methods – includingcopying itself to removable storage devices, instant messaging and P2P file-sharing systems.
Once infected, compromised computers were recruited into the botnet, and operators could steal information including passwords and credit card details from victims.
According to police, the code created by Škorjanc was sold to hundreds of other online criminals around the world.
Yesterday, the regional court of Maribor convicted Škorjanc as the creator of the malware, and money laundering. In addition, he was fined 3000 Euros and had his apartment and car (which were purchased with proceeds from selling the malware and its updates to a crimianal gang) confiscated.
Škorjanc’s ex-girlfriend, Nuša Čoh, was also sentenced – receiving a punishment of eight months’ probation for money laundering.
Hopefully, the sentencing of Iserdo will act as a warning to other online criminals that the international authorities are determined to investigate those behind online attacks, and are prepared to hand out stiff sentences if guilt is proven.