Monday, June 30, 2008

19 years old and headed to prison

Jason Michael Milmont, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, may be only 19 years old, but he's already a very successful cybercriminal. In this Los Angeles FBI Press Release, Milmont confessed to controlling between 5,000 and 15,000 remote victims' computers, which he infected through modified versions of Limewire, and through Instant Message spam messages which lead users to infected websites. Links he placed on MySpace and PhotoBucket were also used to spread his malware.

In January, sources such as ComputerWorld were calling Nugache a challenger to the Storm Worm for its virility, and implied that hackers "tied to the Russian Business Network" may be responible for an upgraded version. Nugache was one of the first botnets to be controlled via a Peer to Peer or distributed interface. Lacking a central Command & Control made it more difficult to identify the real controller of the network.

Milmont confessed to being the programmer -- so, it was a 19 year old in Wyoming, rather than a Russian boogie man in this case. Using a graphical user interface Milmont created, he could easily harvest the stolen credentials which the Nugache worm was gathering from his victims as they logged in to their banking and credit card sites. Infected machines could be remotely upgraded to receive new versions of the malware. The third version added the key-logging software to the malware kit.

Although Milmont harvested many credentials, he is only being asked to pay $73,866.36 in restitution, for purchases made using the stolen credit cards. Milmont shipped packages to vacant addresses where he then picked the packages up himself.

Jason studied computers at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. One of his instructors there, Roger Findley, described him as extremely intelligent but socially awkward.

By pleading guilty, Milmont will only be charged with a single count of a violation of 1030 (a)(4), accessing a computer without authorization with intention to defraud and obtain a thing of value. The maximum sentence to that plea would be 5 years and a $250,000 fine.

View the 22 page plea agreement here.


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Trying a new setting. After turning on comments, I got about 20-30 comments per day that were all link spam. Sorry to require login, but the spam was too much.