Trial set in botnet hacking conspiracy
Thomas James Frederick Smith, 21, and David Anthony Edwards, 20, have been charged in a federal indictment with conspiring to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer and commit computer fraud. The indictment was announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Edwards, of Mesquite, Texas, and Smith, most recently of Parris Island, South Carolina, both entered not guilty pleas and are on pre-trial release. Trial has been set for November 16, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle.
The indictment alleges that from summer 2004 through October 2006, Smith, a/k/a “Zoot,” “TJ,” and “kingsmith007,” and Edwards, a/k/a “Davus,” conspired together to cause the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, by using an IRC chat network to cause damage to a protected computer.
The indictment alleges that Smith and Edwards searched the Internet for vulnerable computers and planted a malicious program on the computers that caused all the compromised computers to login to an IRC chat room. Once the compromised computers were logged into the IRC chat room, Smith and Edwards typed in commands which remotely controlled the behavior of the compromised computers, such as causing all of the compromised computers to simultaneously participate in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack. Smith and Edwards also accessed, without authorization, websites and either defaced the site, or in the case of one webhost server, “published” its client database.
In trying to sell the bot to a potential botnet purchaser, Smith demonstrated the partial capabilities of the bot to the potential purchaser by causing a portion of the botnet to engage in a DDOS by flooding an IP address at ThePlanet.com, an internet-hosting company in Dallas.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney C.S. Heath.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office