USA says hacker to plead guilty for role in 2016 cyber attacks

Lucy Hill
December 14, 2017

During the DDOS attacks, Mirai flooded the internet connection of a targeted computer, thereby crippling it.

As part of their guilty plea, the former Rutgers University student and two other men pleaded admitted that they created the powerful "Mirai" botnet to remotely control a collection of computers using malicious software - without the knowledge or permission of the computers' owners - to carry out attacks on websites. When Dyn was hit with an attack, it caused the massive internet outage that affected millions worldwide.

In plea deals with United States prosecutors, unsealed today, Jha admitted to being one of three people who created and ran the massive Mirai army of hacked gadgets as a DDoS-for-hire operation and as a click-fraud racket.

Mirai launches distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), coordinated floods of traffic so large they overwhelm victim's servers and force them to crash or severely slow. JHA also conspired to conduct DDOS attacks against Internet architecture associated with this group. The Mirai botnet, as it's called, conscripted routers, smart fridges, and CCTV cameras to take down vital services that power companies like PayPal and Netflix. Jha and his co-conspirators also designed the malware to rapidly spread by exploiting previously unknown vulnerabilities in IoT devices.

Mirai malware that was used by Jha and White to enslave hundreds of thousands of devices was used previous year to disrupt access to much of the web.

The Mirai device swarm made headlines first from its involvement in a string of massive-scale DDoS attacks in the summer of 2016 that rocked the internet, and again later that year when the source code for the malware was released.

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Jha also admitted a third charge not related to Mirai. The Rutgers University computer science student was originally publicly identified as a likely suspect in January 2017 by Brian Krebs, a well-known independent computer security journalist.

Charges against Norman unsealed today revealed that renting out the botnet for click-fraud netted the three 100 Bitcoin by January 2017.

The attacks crippled online access at the university, preventing students from accessing assignments or registering for courses.


Jha is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13 and faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Despite the guilty pleas, the Mirai botnet live on. USA authorities are urging the public to keep their IoT devices secure by installing the latest security patches to prevent malware-related botnets from infecting them.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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