Hacker pleads guilty to creating botnets

A hacker in California has pleaded guilty to distributing malware that let him steal usernames and passwords for Paypal accounts.

A hacker has pleaded guilty to infecting hundreds of thousands of computers with malware in order to steal money from Paypal accounts. He could spend 60 years in prison and face a US$1.75 million fine.

John Schiefer, 26, admitted that he and some associates developed malware that allowed them to create botnet armies of as many as 250,000 computers. Schiefer was able to collect information sent from the infected computers, including usernames and passwords for Paypal accounts. He and his associates were then able to make purchases using the Paypal accounts. They also shared the password information with others.

This is the first prosecution of a hacker for this type of activity, according to the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. The Federal Bureau of Investigation pursued the case.

Schiefer says he also found Paypal usernames and passwords using malware that could access usernames filed in a secure storage area on the computers. The malware would send that information to Schiefer, who used it to access the accounts.

Schiefer also acknowledged fraudulently earning more than US$19,000 from a Dutch Internet advertising agency that hired him as a consultant. He was supposed to install the company's programs on computers after receiving consent from computer owners. Instead, he and his associates installed it on 150,000 computers that were infected with his malware.

Schiefer is scheduled to appear in the US District Court in Los Angeles on November 28 and be arraigned on December 3.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?