Three US men plead guilty to crimes tied to 2016 botnet attacks

Mirai botnet attackers plead guilty for roles in 2016 internet cyberattack

Three US men plead guilty to crimes tied to 2016 botnet attacks

Paras Jha, 21, pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to charges involving writing code that allowed him to infect and control devices with Mirai, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

In a United States district court in Alaska, Paras Jha plead guilty to six charges on November 28, with the documents unsealed on Tuesday.

Jha also admitted a third charge not related to Mirai.

DOJ officials said Jha posted the source code for Mirai on a criminal forum in the fall of 2016, triggering the end of his, White's and Norman's involvement with the original Mirai variant, though other criminals have used pieces of it in other attacks.

Jha and Norman were additionally charged in the District of Alaska with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act for infecting more than 100,000 primarily US -based devices, including home Internet routers, with malware that allowed the victims to be utilized in advertising fraud known as "clickfraud".

Jha, a former Rutgers University computer science student, also pleaded guilty Wednesday in a New Jersey federal court to a computer fraud charge for allegedly executing a series of attacks from 2014 through 2016 that paralyzed the university's networks, often during high-stress times such as mid-term or final exams.


The exterior of the Clarkson S. Fisher Building and U.S. Courthouse, where Rutgers University student Paras Jha had a hearing, is seen in Trenton, New Jersey, U.S., December 13, 2017. Court documents did not accuse Norman of creating Mirai but said he helped monetize its use.

The scheme netted Jha and his crew almost 100 bitcoin on January 29, which was valued at $180,000 at the time. They made $180,000 in their schemes, prosecutors said. The attacks had caused at least $5,000 in damages, the district attorney said in Jha's plea agreement. The reporter Brian Krebs first revealed their identities in January, after his website was targeted in a Mirai DDoS attack.

Jha's attorney, Robert Stahl, said Jha "is a brilliant young man whose intellect far exceeded his emotional maturity" and that he is "extremely remorseful and accepts responsibility for his actions".

White, 20, of Washington, Pennsylvania, and Norman could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Anna-Senpai released the source code of the Mirai botnet online in September 2016, which gave other hackers the opportunity to use it.

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