Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global
network of virus, spyware and spam analysis center, have welcomed
the news that a man has pleaded guilty in Florida to charges in
connection with hacking into corporate computers, making over a
hundred thousand dollars by using them to display cash-generating
Robert Matthew Bentley, of Panama City, Florida, admitted to his
botnet activities which took place from October 2005 to November
reports claim that 21-year-old Bentley, who sometimes used the
online handle "LSDigital", was part of a gang that used malware to
break into innocent PCs across Europe.
According to court documents, the malware generated so much
server traffic that normal network operations came to a standstill
for one corporate victim, Newell Rubbermaid.
"Computer crime fighting authorities in the UK and America
worked closely together to piece together the evidence in this
case, and have successfully brought another botherder to book,"
Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "According to
papers filed in the court, Newell Rubbermaid has so far sustained
damage of at least $150,000 countering Bentley's attacks. In their
greed for cash, criminal hackers have no qualms about blindly
infecting computers around the world to generate them loot."
Robert Bentley faces up to 20 years in prison, and a possible
fine of $500,000. His sentence hearing is scheduled for 28 May
2008. There is speculation, however, that the authorities may
exercise leniency in Bentley's sentencing if he assists the
authorities in uncovering others involved in the botnet
Earlier this year, Sophos published
its annual Security Threat Report, which discussed how
financially-motivated cybercriminals use zombie botnets in their
pursuit of money.
Zombie computers - are your PCs under someone else's
Zombie computers can be used by criminal hackers to launch
distributed denial-of-service attacks, spread spam messages or to
steal confidential information. SophosLabs estimates that more than
99 percent of all spam today originates from zombie computers.
As spammers become more aggressive, collaborating with virus
writers to create armies of zombie computers, legitimate
organizations with hijacked computers are being identified as a
source of spam. This not only harms the organization's reputation,
but can also cause the company's email to be blocked by others.
advises service subscribers when any computer on their network is
found to have sent spam to Sophos's extensive global network of
spam traps, and provides rapid notification to customers if their
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are listed in public Domain Name
Server Block Lists (DNSBL). This information helps customers
locate, disinfect, and protect these systems from future