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Sophos: Brazilian charged with selling access to 100,000 PC Botnet

August 2008 by Sophos

IT security and control firm Sophos has welcomed news that authorities have charged a 35-year-old Brazilian with conspiring to cause damage to computers around the world.

According to reports, Abreu Neto controlled a botnet of 100,000 compromised computers, and leased access to third parties for 25,000 Euros. These zombie PCs could then be used to send spam, launch distributed denial-of-service attacks or commit identity theft. Neto now faces up to five years in prison and a fine of more than USD 250,000.

"The authorities should be congratulated for their efforts in investigating this case and prosecuting the guilty parties," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "But, what about the 100,000 infected computers that were unwillingly turned into foot soldiers for this criminal scheme? While catching the bad guys is the first step, it’s essential that these innocent victims also clean up their PCs - without this, it’s likely they’ll just be playing a waiting game until another hacker exploits their lack of security and recruits them to another zombie network."

Dutch authorities apprehended Abreu Neto on July 29th, following assistance from the FBI’s New Orleans field office and the Cyber Section of the Brazilian Federal Police. Neto allegedly worked with 19-year-old Nordin Nasiri of the Netherlands, to run the zombie network and lease infected computers.

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