Mariposa botnet mastermind receives almost five year prison sentence

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

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.

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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.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

4 comments on “Mariposa botnet mastermind receives almost five year prison sentence”

  1. Ian Ainsley

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

    1. Wayne in Indy · in reply to Ian Ainsley

      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.

      1. Herman · in reply to Wayne in Indy

        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.

  2. Dylan

    When it's almost 2018 and this guy just stole $70 million in Bitcoin. Don't let criminals out of jail.

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