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10/26/2007
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'Bot Master' Gets 12 Months In Federal Prison

Jason Michael Downey used an IRC account to compromise PCs to attack and subvert other computers and increased the size of his bot network to about 6,000 machines.

On Tuesday, Jason Michael Downey, operator of a network of compromised PCs, received a 12-month sentence in federal prison for unlawful computer intrusion, U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said in a statement.

Downey, 24, of Dry Ridge, Ky., was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison, three years on suspended release, and was ordered to pay $21,110 in restitution and to perform 150 hours of community service.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, information presented in court indicates that that defendant owned the Rizon.Net Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network from mid-June 2004 through early September 2004.

During this time, Downey was found to have operated a bot network. By directing compromised PCs to attack and subvert other computers, he managed to increase the size of his bot network to about 6,000 machines. Thereafter, he used the IRC network known as Yotta-byte.net to launch denial-of-service attacks that impaired various computer systems on the Internet. The DoJ puts the financial damage caused by these attacks at over $20,000.

"The so-called 'bot-masters' on the Internet should realize that attacking and damaging other computer networks through a bot-net can land you in prison," U.S. Attorney Murphy said in a statement. "We have the capacity to investigate and prosecute these high-tech crimes, and we will continue to do so."

In its September 2007 Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec said it saw an average of 52,771 active bot-infected computers per day during the first half of 2007, a 17% decrease from the second half of 2006.

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