The Los Angeles division of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation Thursday arrested a 20-year-old man on charges that he illegally made thousands of dollars by setting up a botnet of compromised computers to sell them for hacking and spam purposes.
The arrest of Jeanson James Ancheta, as reported by Reuters wire service in the New York Times online, is based on charges that he made about US$60,000 in his operation manipulating computers compromised by "bot" software code that could be herded together and rented or sold for a variety of purposes.
A "bot," short for software robot, is code which is covertly implanted on a machine by worms and other methods in order to allow an attacker to remotely control it. Individuals that "herd" bots into groups, or botnets, in order to organize them for large-scale tasks such as spam relays or denial-of-service attacks, are sometimes called "botmasters."
Federal prosecutors indicated that some of the computers involved in the Ancheta case involve the Weapons Division of the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center in California and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Ancheta is charged by federal prosecutors with a 17-count indictment that includes conspiracy, attempted transmission of code to a government computer, accessing a protected computer to commit fraud and money laundering. According to the Reuters report, Acheta had not yet made a court appearance to enter a plea.