Mariposa botnet mastermind receives almost five year prison sentence

iserdo-170Matjaž 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.

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3 Responses

  1. Ian Ainsley December 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Less than 5 years is not nearly long enough, they should
    throw away the key!

    • Wayne in Indy December 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      I agree Ian. Although it is electronic, these jerks are
      basically breaking into my home and destroying valuable property. I
      am sick of running virus cleaners, or worst case doing system
      restores. A ten year minimum sentence might make most of these
      clowns stop doing this crap.

      • Herman January 3, 2014 at 11:35 am #

        You're missing the point, they've convicted the guy who created the tools to break into your home and then sold those tools to burglars. It's not clear from the article what happened to the burglars themselves.

        While I do agree he needs to be punished, it shouldn't be for creating the malware but for selling it to criminals (criminal intent). Otherwise we should arrest arms manufacturers for murders committed with their weapons also.

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