A Dutch hacker who launched DDoS attacks against high-profile sites like the BBC and Yahoo News, and also attempted to extort many other companies, received no jail time for his actions.
Speaking in a court in the Hague, the Netherlands earlier this month, a 20-year-old man showed remorse in court, admitted to his crimes, which he committed as a minor, and apologized for his actions.
The hacker received 120 hours of community support and 377 days of juvenile detention. He didn’t get any prison time as a part of his sentence was considered time spent and was set free on a 360-day conditional release pursuant he not break any other laws.
S. was a Mirai botnet operator
According to heavily redacted court documents obtained by ZDNet, the hacker managed a DDoS botnet that he built using the Mirai IoT malware. Estimates on the size of the botnets ranged from 2,697 bots (court docs) to 10,000 bots (social media).
Court documents identified the hacker only as S. and did not reveall the names of any of his targets. However, according to a Haagsche Courant journalist present at a February 21 court hearing, some of the websites that suffered from S.’s wrath included the BBC, Yahoo News, e-commerce giant Zalando, and several Bitcoin exchanges and gambling sites.
Authorities say that in some cases, S. also contacted companies asking for Bitcoin ransoms to stop the attacks. One such example is the cryptocurrency exchange Moneypot, which, at the time, published one of S.’s ransom notes.
These attacks happened began around October 2016 and stopped a year later in October 2017, when investigators arrested the suspect.
Evidence from seized equipment included Skype logs detailing conversations with two co-conspirators, one named Chris and another suspect from Croatia.
Conversations included phrases such as “the’re[sic] down and sent email” and “sent this,” with a copy of the email S. had sent.
S. made roughly $150,000
Investigators claim that S. made roughly $150,000 in Bitcoin from his attacks and subsequent ransom demands.
Speaking in court in a February 21 hearing, S. told the judge that he started his DDoS spree because his parents couldn’t give him money due to their financial situation and after learning that the creator of the Mirai IoT malware made $100,000 from a similar scheme. He began using the botnet soon after its source code was released online.
He also said that he first started hacking around 13-14, even before conducting the Mirai-supported DDoS attacks.
Besides confessing and apologizing for his crimes, S. told the judge that he is now involved in cryptocurrency mining and speculation, to which the judge replied that his new occupation is dangerous and that “you will need money again soon.”
The prosecutions asked for a much harsher sentence, with a 24-months prison stay and that S. pay €12,000 ($13,500) in damages to some of the victims.
Multiple industry sources who spoke with ZDNet said that S. is one of the hackers included in a list of top IoT hackers and botnet operators compiled by NewSky Security last year. We have chosen not to include the hacker’s nickname as this was speculation that we could not independently verify.
Related malware and cybercrime coverage:
Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Endpoint Management
Endpoint management is one of the most significant challenges in the enterprise today. An increasingly large percentage of our workforce is distributed and demands flexibility to work wherever they want, whenever they want. We must respond by giving them access to the services they require to do their jobs effectively. The alternative is that we, as a business, will suffer, lose good people, and become less competitive. However, we must achieve this essential access while maintaining security and control of our business’s data assets.
An appropriate endpoint management strategy is key to addressing these issues. Our approach should be holistic and unified, bringing together control of devices, management of applications, security of data, and access controls.
Unified endpoint management (UEM) is the approach to meeting this challenge. It has evolved from traditionally disparate solutions for endpoint management, application delivery, and security into a single platform. This single platform delivers a consistent end-user experience across all devices, applications, and locations while maintaining security and control of data assets. The leading solutions allow us to enroll devices easily into our control, provide support, and ensure constituency and compliance while managing access to our applications and data.
This GigaOM Key Criteria Report describes UEM solutions and identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting such a solution. The corresponding GigaOm Radar Report identifies vendors and products that excel in this sector. Together, these reports give decision-makers an overview of the market to help them evaluate existing platforms and decide where to invest.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
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Data Storage for Ever Changing Business Needs
Join GigaOm analyst Enrico Signoretti and CTERA CTO Aron Brand in this one-hour live webinar as they explore file storage trends and dynamics through the lens of IT infrastructure modernization projects.
The file and cloud experts will discuss the limitations of traditional NAS architectures in today’s corporate environments and how organizations are implementing distributed cloud file storage to solve remote collaboration, ransomware protection, and unstructured data growth challenges.
Signoretti and Brand will also examine the recently published GigaOm Radar for Distributed Cloud File Storage, in which CTERA was named the leader. They will review the report’s key criteria and evaluation metrics for choosing a distributed cloud file storage platform, helping IT leaders to understand which vendors are most aligned to their needs today as well as 12-18 months down the road.
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High Performance Application Security Testing – Cloud WAF Security Platforms
This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research features analyst Jake Dolezal and will focus on comparing Web Application Firewall (WAF) security platforms in an enterprise with high performance needs.
This webinar will discuss web application security mechanisms deployed in the cloud. The cloud enables enterprises to differentiate and innovate with microservices at a rapid pace. However, the cloud is just as vulnerable, if not more so, to attacks and breaches as on-premises APIs and apps are. Our focus is specifically on approaches to securing apps, APIs, and microservices that are tuned for high performance and availability. We define “high performance” as companies that experience workloads of more than 1,000 transactions per second (tps) and require a maximum latency below 30 milliseconds across the landscape.
In this webinar, we will reveal the performance tests of security mechanisms on NGINX, AWS, and Azure, specifically: ModSecurity, NGINX App Protect WAF, AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Azure WAF.
Register now to join GigaOm and NGINX for this free expert webinar.
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