Vengeful programmer gets two years in prison for botnet attack

Programmer launched virus that infected about 100,000 PCs and attacked Rolling Stone and Radar.

Putting a finishing punch on what was a nasty online retribution attack, a federal court in New Jersey has sentenced a former programmer to two years in prison, plus three years of supervised release for building a botnet-based virus that infected about 100,000 PCs and attacked a number of media outlets such as Rolling Stone and Radar.

The programmer, Bruce Raisley was convicted of launching a malicious computer program designed to attack computers and Internet websites, causing damages last September.

More on big botnets:  FBI, DoJ bomb Coreflood botnet

The story has a nasty little background to it. According to the FBI:

Raisley had volunteered for Perverted Justice, an organization that worked with the Dateline NBC television show "To Catch a Predator" to identify and apprehend pedophiles. After a falling out with the group and its founder, Xavier Von Erck, Raisley became an outspoken critic of Perverted Justice and Von Erck. Von Erck retaliated by posing online as an adult woman named "Holly" and initiating an Internet relationship with Raisley. Eventually, Raisley agreed to leave his wife for "Holly" and was photographed by a Perverted Justice volunteer waiting for "Holly" at the airport.

In September 2006, Radar Magazine published an article entitled "Strange Bedfellows," and in July 2007, Rolling Stone Magazine published an article entitled, "To Catch a Predator: The New American Witch Hunt for Dangerous Pedophiles." Both articles discussed the television show "To Catch a Predator" and, more specifically, the techniques employed by Perverted Justice and the show to ensnare pedophiles. Both articles discussed the episode between Raisley and Von Erck posing as "Holly." The two articles proved popular, and were later posted on a number of websites beyond Radar and Rolling Stone, including a website operated by the Rick Ross Institute of New Jersey. As a result, Raisley devised a plan to remove the articles from the websites.

In court the prosecution showed that Raisley targeted and attacked a number of websites with what amounted to a botnet, including those of Rolling Stone, Radar, Nettica, Corrupted Justice, and the Rick Ross Institute of New Jersey. In total, those websites suffered damages in excess of $100,000 in lost revenues and mitigation, the FBI stated.

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