Malware Programmer Pays College Fee By Creating Massive Spam Botnet, Gets No Prison Time

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The American federal court has sentenced a resident of Santa Clara, California, to 24 months probation for playing a major role in the creation and spreading of a computer malware. However, he wasn’t awarded any prison time.

As per the US Department of Justice website, Sean Tiernan, 29, was presented before the court and United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the probation sentence.

As per the information presented in the court, Tiernan was involved in the development of a malicious computer program, using his PC in California. The malware being talked about here was programmed by him to spread at a fast rate via social networking websites.

Once a machine was infected, Tiernan’s malware communicated and received directions from the servers over the internet. The servers itself were previously hacked computers. This mesh of infected computer and servers formed a botnet that was controlled by Tiernan. He used this botnet to send tons of commercial email messages.

Tiernan sold the access to his botnet to those who wished to use this spamming email service.

As per a search warrant in October 2012, more than 77,000 infected computers were found in his botnet. Most of the infected machines were located in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

According to Bleeping Computer, Tiernan’s lawyers argued that via spam he only send advertisements, not some malware. They added that the earned money, which was small, was used to pay for collected and associated educational and living expenses.

When FBI caught Tiernan, he was a student at Cal Poly. After that, he has decided to make a career in cybersecurity. He is now enrolled in a cybersecurity graduate program.

Also Read: Bad Rabbit Ransomware Uses NSA’s “EternalRomance” Exploit, Petya Connection Also Found
Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]

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