An American hacker has been sent to jail after using a Trojan
horse to break into innocent internet users' computers.
Raymond Paul Steigerwalt, from Indiana, has been sentenced to 21
months in jail for his involvement in an international hacking gang
which broke into computers around the world, including PCs at the
United States Department of Defense, with a Trojan horse.
Steigerwalt, 21, was a member of the international "Thr34t-Krew"
hacking gang which launched a Trojan horse designed to break into
internet-connected computers. The Troj/TKBot-A Trojan horse
(also known as the TKWorm) exploited a
vulnerability that is found on some Microsoft IIS web
At least two computers belonging to the Department of Defense
were infected and damaged by the malicious code. Between October
2002 and 7 March 2003, Steigerwalt and other members of the
Thr34t-Krew gang were able to remotely control infected computers
without the knowledge of the computers' owners.
"There is a growing trend for hacking gangs to break into
innocent people's computers to spy, to steal, and to cause damage,"
Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "All computer
users should be aware of the risks and ensure their networks are
properly defended. This sentence sends out a strong message to
other hackers that infecting others with Trojan horses and other
malware is not acceptable."
Steigerwalt, who pleaded guilty to the charges, has been ordered
to pay $12,000 to the Department of Defense for damage caused by
the Trojan horse.
In September 2003, Sophos reported how two men from
the North East of England were also charged in connection with the
Trojan horse. According to the UK's National High Tech Crime Unit
both men were believed to be members of the Thr34t-Krew gang, and
it was claimed that their activities had caused an estimated £5.5
million worth of damage.