Got One!

As someone who has to spend time on a daily basis hunting down and removing spam attacks on my website, I have absolutely zero sympathy for this guy, should he be proved guilty.

A 20-year-old man accused of using thousands of hijacked computers, or “bot nets,” to damage systems and send massive amounts of spam across the Internet was arrested Thursday in what authorities called the first such prosecution of its kind.

Jeanson James Ancheta, who prosecutors say was a well-known member of the “Botmaster Underground”—or the secret network of computer hackers skilled at bot attacks—was taken into custody after being lured to FBI offices in Los Angeles, said U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek.

I’ve heard it said by spam apologists that it’s nothing personal that they attack your website.  To them, it’s all business.  Your PC is simply a commodity, to be infected with a bot and traded amongst spammers.  Your website is another commodity to be used to gain hits for their clients.  And it would appear that despite our best efforts, there is still money to be made:

Mrozek said Ancheta, who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, was thought to have made nearly $60,000 from the planted adware, using the money to pay for servers to carry out additional attacks, computer equipment and a BMW.

However, the government takes a dim view of these actions, as I think they should.  Perhaps, if convicted, he could serve as an example to others:

Ancheta has been indicted on a 17-count federal indictment that charges him with conspiracy, attempted transmission of code to a protected computer, transmission of code to a government computer, accessing a protected computer to commit fraud and money laundering.

Ancheta, who was expected to make an initial court appearance late on Thursday or Friday, faces a maximum term of 50 years in prison if convicted on all counts, though federal sentencing guidelines typically call for lesser penalties.

I would not cry for him if he got the full sentence.  What these people are doing is THEFT, pure and simple.  They are stealing resources from people’s PCs as well as from their websites.  If I don’t stay on top of these bastards on a daily basis, I run the risk of overusing my shared hosting plan and being forced to upgrade to a dedicated server if I want to stay online, which would cost me about $100 per month.  When you look at the amount of resources that are being used up by spammers, it doesn’t take many of them to have a significant effect.

If I believed in all that religion stuff I’d say that he and the rest of his ilk should rot in hell.  Short of that, though, perhaps we can make his time on Earth very unpleasant.  I believe I mentioned the use of small caliber weapons on body extremities in the comments on someone’s weblog.  If that proves impractical, then perhaps staking them over a fireant bed would be sufficient.


  1. Gerry N. says:

    Now if only we could hang the little shit by his heels, skin him alive with a rusty can lid and roll him in salt. 

    That’ll give us time to think up a punishment that’s actually unpleasant.

  2. Kevin White says:

    Unfortunately, I think they’re like cockroaches: for every one you find and smash, there are twenty you can’t see writhing around in your walls.

  3. Gerry N. says:

    So, because it’s difficult or impossible to get ‘em all, we don’t even try to get any of ‘em?

    Perhaps if we got medieval on the ones we catch, we can deter a few.  I was speaking metaphorically in my first response, but what if we made spammers actually PAY Their Victims for their losses.  Then treble it as damages.  We do this to people who cheat the Fed. on income taxes, why not criminals who steal from us?

  4. Kevin White says:

    No, of course I didn’t say that at all.

    Just a reality check: we may never get enough of ‘em (or deter the ones we don’t get with stern enough punishments) to see too much impact.

    The activity can be lucrative (I don’t know how), and will therefore continue to attract “botmasters.”

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