Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Botnet Crime Security IT

Suspected Mariposa Botnet Creator Arrested 95

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-think-it's-a-silly-name dept.
mehemiah writes "The writer of the Mariposa Botnet has been arrested through international effort. The FBI said this arrest and the arrests of three alleged operators in February were the result of a two-year joint investigation into the Mariposa Botnet, which may have infected as many as eight million to 12 million computers around the world."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Suspected Mariposa Botnet Creator Arrested

Comments Filter:
  • satisfaction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zcold (916632)
    indeed, it is a good day for the interwebs... though with one gone, another will takes its place...
    • "though with one gone, another will takes its place..."

      Ain't that the truth. It seems every time one of these gets shut down, my daily spam volume decreases for a few days and then rises back to the previous levels and maybe even higher.

  • Two years? (Score:1, Insightful)

    It took two years and a task force of how many, costing how much, to bring down three people? 8--12 million computers infected? That sure says a lot about the state of network security, and law enforcement's ineptitude for technology. We could give them supreme lord powers and allow summary executions and they'd still be behind because they just don't understand the technology.

    • Re:Two years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by asukasoryu (1804858) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#33069746)
      It's hard enough to find 1 out of 6 billion people in the real world. Harder still to track them in the virtual world through their botnet and relate that back to a physical location where they can be apprehended without causing them to flee. I say kudos and good luck on future captures.
      • by Dumnezeu (1673634)

        And let's not forget, this is one of the first! Legal investigation is quite difficult when you're dealing with international agreements, changing laws, lack of precedents, SSL connections, privacy issues, etc. Let me see you, from the US, asking a judge in Slovenia to give you a search warrant for a person that seems to behave (well their Internet connection did) like someone who might be in control of one of the largest botnets in the world.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by shentino (1139071)

          Not to mention countries that are rather unfriendly to the US and could really not give two shits if one of their citizens is masterminding a botnet that damages the americans.

          For example, there was a Dateline investigation into online scammers. One of the crooknets that got busted moved to Iran. "Hey, we can move to a server in Iran! They can't touch us there!"

      • by shentino (1139071)

        What we really need to do is secure the fricking holey code that let them hijack the damned machines in the first place.

        Fix the software once, let it be installed/patched onto the 12 million machines.

    • It took two years and a task force of how many, costing how much, to bring down three people?

      You're probably right, but it's not totally beyond the pale that they pretty much have known who the guy was for a while, but wanted extra time to either build a stronger case or to watch him and see what information they could gather on his associates. After all, these things do happen for non-technology crimes.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        To paraphrase: It's not what you know, it's what you can PROVE.

        Let's hope they didn't mess up. These people need stringing up from a very high place.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It took two years and a task force of how many, costing how much, to bring down three people? 8--12 million computers infected? That sure says a lot about the state of network security, and law enforcement's ineptitude for technology. We could give them supreme lord powers and allow summary executions and they'd still be behind because they just don't understand the technology.

      I kind of find it funny how frequently I see arguments on Slashdot for keeping the internet free and open with many international liberties intact. And then when something bad thrives in that environment, it's "law enforcement's ineptitude for technology" that is to blame. Very cute, girlintraining.

      • Just because people want the internet to be free and the government not to screw with my freedoms doesn't mean I want them to be terrible at doing the job they are SUPPOSED to be doing. You don't have to choose between a government that does everything or one that does nothing. That's the point. Let the good kids run free and send the bad ones to detention. Or in this case, federal prison.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by natehoy (1608657)

          We want our ISP to not store indefinite logs on us. But, wait, then how would Mariposa's creator have been discovered if it were not for detailed historical connection logs?

          In order to catch the bad kids, you need to watch all the kids closely so you know who the bad kids are. The more you watch them, the more you can tell between the good kids and the bad kids. The less you're allowed to watch them, the more the bad kids are going to be able to get away with.

          If you want freedom, then you have to accept

    • Re:Two years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by derrickh (157646) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:35AM (#33069780) Homepage

      You're an idiot.
      The good guys do something good and you sit there and call them inept because they didn't do it in a timeframe you find acceptable? You think that they could just type in 'tracert' and show up at an address to arrest someone? How about congratulating them on bringing in a criminal instead of backseat quarterbacking.

      D

    • Re:Two years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:42AM (#33069878) Journal

      It took two years and a task force of how many, costing how much, to bring down three people?

      Much less than it would have cost to let them run amok.

      That sure says a lot about the state of network security, and law enforcement's ineptitude for technology.

      While it says a lot about the state of network security, the fact that 8 to 12 million people were infected with a virus they didn't know about says more about the computer literacy of the average individual. And, despite the fact that the botnet was millions of machines large, providing nearly impenetrable anonymity, law enforcement was still able to find the people behind the whole thing. That is actually one of the rare cases where law enforcement has proven they are not technically inept. Maybe this is a sign of better things to come.

      Don't get me wrong. I share your cynicism in general about the state of the Internet and all of the security holes you could pilot a starship through, but I don't think that mocking law enforcement when they actually catch somebody is the way to go. The people behind this botnet were responsible for creating international tensions that could have led to violence. They stole credit cards and banking information with no care for who they were harming, all to fuel their own egotistical ambitions. These were not good people, or hacker heroes, or anything of the sort. Sorry, but I'm siding with the FBI on this one.

      • by ModelX (182441)

        That is actually one of the rare cases where law enforcement has proven they are not technically inept. Maybe this is a sign of better things to come.

        Not really, it's one of those cases where criminals get caught because they are not paranoid enough. One of the domains that received info from the botnet was registered using a real name. Another incriminating fact was they got caught connecting to the botnet directly from their own IPs. And to top it all the supposed mastermind was selling the botnet software for peanuts advertising with pricelist and everything on his web page. A paranoid hacker borrowing domains and tunnels from infected servers would n

    • Re:Two years? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by abigor (540274) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:58AM (#33070202)

      Just curious, how would you have gone about finding them? You seem to imply you have a deep understanding of the technology involved.

      • Re:Two years? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:20PM (#33071886)

        Just curious, how would you have gone about finding them? You seem to imply you have a deep understanding of the technology involved.

        If it were up to me, I'd harden the targets. Even if that meant making Microsoft financially liable under defective product laws for any losses incurred due to these botnets. The choice for Microsoft would be, stop selling Windows as a general consumer product touting claims of security and ease-of-use or face product liability for its insecurity. If they want to sell Windows as a product designed for skilled/competent users who understand the security issues it would be a different story, but then they'd lose the massive market they currently enjoy. Let them decide whether the product liability or the reduced market is more beneficial to their bottom line. This might have the side-effect of making Windows less of a monopoly, and thus less of a monoculture that allows one exploit to immediately impact millions of machines.

        Either way the idea that Joe Sixpack can use an immensely complex system that he doesn't remotely understand and never expect a bad result is an illusion that needs to go. It leads to a parasitic situation where Microsoft profits from Windows and everyone else pays its costs above and beyond its price tag at the point of sale. This is unjust. Doing something about this would be good for everyone except maybe Microsoft, and for that I'd have to quote Spock about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few or the one. In the long term, serious pressure on Microsoft to improve Windows might even be beneficial to them as well.

        So yes, hardening the targets is the approach I would take. When you have millions of systems with massive vulnerabilities I am not remotely surprised that someone somewhere is going to come along and exploit them. It's rather predictable. You can spend two years and a great deal of effort and expense to catch three of them, but during that two years how many more than three have committed similar crimes? It's a losing game so long as the supply of these criminals exceeds your ability to catch them. That's if your goal is to eliminate botnets. If you have a strong preference for some form of visceral satisfaction, then the current criminal justice approach would be more to your tastes.

        It wasn't really my intention to make this a post about Microsoft, but how can you separate them from any sincere discussion about botnets? These million-plus-member botnets might have a great deal of diversity in terms of their function, their method of propagation, their purpose, and who is at the helm. They all have one thing in common: Windows. Targeted attacks by a skilled and determined human adversary are one thing. It's automated self-propagating write-once-exploit-everywhere script-kiddie bullshit for which there is no excuse. It is the latter and not the former that allows for millions of machines to become members of a botnet.

        If you're a Microsoft fanboy, Windows is targeted because it's so popular. Because it's so popular and so thoroughly targeted, it needs to be one of the most security-hardened. Call it the price of success. If you're not a Microsoft fanboy, then Windows is targeted because it is inherently less secure. That makes it the squeaky wheel in need of some serious security oil. Either way, it's a pointless debate because what needs to be done about the situation is the same. Because they have such a wealth of resources and talent, I have full confidence that Microsoft could make a Windows secure enough to frustrate automated self-propagating attacks if they truly wanted to do it.

      • Just curious, how would you have gone about finding them? You seem to imply you have a deep understanding of the technology involved.

        I'd find someone with a name close to "Mariposa" and then beat them until they confessed to making it. Sister Mary Rosa may look like a sweet old nun, but that's just a cover.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It takes as long for most drug investigations, so how would this say anything about law enforcement's ineptitude for technology? Why would this take any less time than busting a drug ring?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dropadrop (1057046)
      From what I've picked up working with "cyber crime units" in several countries I would say there are plenty of talented people there, but the departments are severely understaffed. It's a pretty ungrateful and badly payed job compared to what you could get elsewhere with the same level of know how... There's also the problem of what kind of loops they have to jump through to get information. Even if we as a company want them to look into a case (and they want to too) they might still have to go through a lo
  • The article doesn't make it clear where (given that a multinational team worked together on the arrest), for what charges exactly he'll be tried, and what the likely sentences are.

      • Well, not exactly -- that's where he was arrested, but will he be tried in Slovenia? Or will he be extradited to Spain or the U.S.?

        Given just the information in the articles, any of those seems possible to me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          He is a Slovenian citizen, he will be tried in Slovenia and yes Americans are no an über nation.

          Also FBI claimed in its press release that THEY arested this man. I just point out that FBI agents have no jurisdiction in Slovenia, they were only guests of our police officers.

          • Hey, don't take me as slighting Slovenia -- people are extradited in international crimes all the time.

            Obviously Slovenia has jurisdiction and did the arresting, but if Slovenian authorities feel like the bulk of the crime was committed in Spain, for example, it's possible they might choose to give him to Spain. It's their choice but it's still a choice.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Unequivocal (155957)

              I'm not an expert in international law, but I think they could try him in Slovenia on charges relevant there (what illegal actions he took there) and then hand him off to Spain, rinse/repeat and onward to USA. No double jeopardy if the crimes are committed are new in each country (and not sure how each of these countries weighs double jeopardy in light of extradition after trial..)

              Anyone with more info - please enlighten us.

              • by powerlord (28156)

                I'm not an expert in international law, but I think they could try him in Slovenia on charges relevant there (what illegal actions he took there) and then hand him off to Spain, rinse/repeat and onward to USA. No double jeopardy if the crimes are committed are new in each country (and not sure how each of these countries weighs double jeopardy in light of extradition after trial..)

                Anyone with more info - please enlighten us.

                Cool Something to plan for when I get near retirement age:

                1) Create Botnet, but onl

        • by slick7 (1703596)

          Well, not exactly -- that's where he was arrested, but will he be tried in Slovenia? Or will he be extradited to Spain or the U.S.?

          Given just the information in the articles, any of those seems possible to me.

          He'll ride over with McKinnon.

  • Jail time (Score:5, Funny)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:31AM (#33069714)
    Send him off to jail. It's his turn to get a lot of unsolicited male in his inbox.
    • by veeoh (444683)

      Oh yes. +1 - would smirk again.

    • by drumcat (1659893)
      Why is it everyone loves to talk about prison buttsecks?
      • I think he was talking about mouth love - Mel Gibson style.
      • Re:Jail time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:39AM (#33069842)

        It's our odd modern sense of justice. We don't consider incarceration to be an effective deterrent or just punishment, but throw in a little jailhouse rape and suddenly everyone's appropriately scared or satisfied.

        People are strange.

        • Re:Jail time (Score:4, Insightful)

          by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33070216)

          Oh ya, people will talk about how it would be deeply wrong to use rape as a punishment and then almost in the same breath talk about sending someone to federal "pound you in the ass" prison.

          • From what I hear a lot of Federal prisons (aka Club Fed) are the only prisons where you have some hope of not being assaulted while inside. These are mostly white collar facilities I believe.. This is all third or fourth hand info so I'd welcome anyone who has better info.

            • Re:Jail time (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @04:45PM (#33075744)

              Prison Rape isn't as common as the 'hope you get a cellmate who thinks you have a purty mouth' crowd assumes, but it certainly happens. It's also dumb for the guards or the whole system to allow. First, it's committed by the very violent types, and they don't pick victims because they secretly want to uphold the moral order and those victims are paedophiles or rapists on the outside, they pick them for vulnerability, which means they usually choose the persons with no physical, social or economic power first, not the ones society on the outside thinks are the 'most worthy'. The guy who committed rape on the outside is proven violent, and the cons will seek easier targets, like the kid whose only crime is dealing pot. Second, one way to avoid rape is to get with a gang and do other favors instead. The gangs all split totally along racial lines, all teach criminal methods to new members, and basically steer less violent criminals towards becoming more violent. Tolerating rape helps give gangs another recruitment tool, and empowers the most violent to think they can run the prisons, not the guards. Third, prison rape spreads AIDS, so now you have a growing pool of people who are going to be released in a few years, have become more and more violently inclined, are often hyperinsecure about their masculinity, and are HIV positive. Guards often have female family members too, or other women on the outside they care about. Priming someone to be a threat to them is a bad mistake. The Japanese run some very tough prisons, with almost no instances of rape because they take a prisoner thinking he can get away with more crimes while in prison as an automatic security threat.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by gorzek (647352)

            Yeah, most Americans seem to be A-OK with the concept of prison rape as a "bonus" to your incarceration, especially if you are guilty of a sex crime.

            Many people have no understanding of "justice" and think it is indistinguishable from revenge.

    • How fucked up of a person would one have to be to wish another person that they get raped? Have you actually ever talked to a rape victim? Well, I have and I can tell you that it wasn't pretty. But hey, he is a criminal so it must be ok to rape him. Would it be ok to kill him too? After all, murder is just a crime like rape is.
      • First, the post you're responding to is obviously a joke. (And, for the record, it's a funny joke.)

        Second, without saying that criminals deserve to be raped or murdered -- you know, it's not like these risks as part of being in prison are a surprise to any adult. These are risks you choose to take when you choose to commit crimes like this. I don't want to get speared through the heart by a stingray, and as a result I choose to not try to wrestle dangerous wildlife like the Crocodile Hunter. Along simil

        • I know it was a joke. I just didn't think it was funny. Well, the girl that told me her story was a german exchange student from YFU whom I was training to go abroad. She chose to open up to me for whatever reasons she had. I think that it is a shame that a person in prison (be it in the US or in germany - I don't know if the chance of getting raped in prison is higher in the us or in germany), an environment that is closely monitored and where personal freedom is very limited, has a higher risk of gettin
        • Sorry, I meant reasonable. English is not my first language (and I still have a lot to learn obviously).
    • by juancnuno (946732) *
      LOL! Touche!
  • That's what I always tell people anyways...

    Take for example, that instead of growing a botnet for malicious reasons, I've told many that what someone should do is create virtuous botnet! Yes, virtuous!!

    If I was to do this, I would make a botnet that deployed an antivirus. It could work like this:

    n) Find its way to host
    n) Check to see if it has an antivirus program installed. If so, check to see if it's any good. If not, rm -rf /antivirus/* and install a a OSS/free AV of my liking
    n) Scan host fo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109)

      n) watch as some of your infections destabalise critical systems and cause damage or deaths.

      "Phone home with info to create the worlds largest DB of infections and update all other machines to prevent same infection"

      How exactly would your network recognise a virus you didn't already know about?
      that problem is in the same realm as the halting problem.

      some botnets do in fact install cracked and patched AV systems to clean their competitors off the systems they infect.

      • by socz (1057222)
        Oh, that is sweet! So 1/2 the work is already done. So I need to get a hold of their code and the modify it, then implement! Success is at hand!
      • How exactly would your network recognise a virus you didn't already know about?
        that problem is in the same realm as the halting problem.

        Advanced Heuristic Methods! (or however McAfee puts it)

  • ... Blam! Blam! Blam! Click. Click. Click.

    FREEZE! FBI!!

    .
  • by powerlord (28156) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @11:48AM (#33069978) Journal

    "The writer of the Mariposa Botnet has been arrested through international effort. The FBI said this arrest and the arrests of three alleged operators in February were the result of a two-year joint investigation into the Mariposa Botnet, which may have infected as many as eight million to 12 million computers around the world."

    In related news, a grass roots campaign has started on the net calling for his release.

    Current estimates are that anywhere from 8 to 12 million people around the world are current calling for his release, writing petitions to their local government, and spamming on-line petition sites hoping to bring attention to this issue.

  • ... that THAT didn't go on for too long and they got 'em in a timely manner - I mean if that had kept up, millions of machines could have been compromised! I say, good thing they had LOTS of people investigating so we could catch these crooks before the damage was done.

    (Yes, for the impaired, that's sarcasm!)
    Two years to track this down?! Give me a break...

    • You know, that stuff that has to stand up in court. Beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Thank goodness people think before shouting their ignorance to the world these days.
       

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:28PM (#33070766)

      Life isn't like 24, Law and Order, or Hackers.

      First, in order to put someone in jail, you have to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they did, in fact, commit the crime. That means you have to have evidence that they actually did the crime, that the don't have an alibi, and have all the evidence admissible in court.

      "But my computer was compromised too!" would be a decent defence. How can you get around this? You'd have to track the commands for the botnet and trace each one back to a physical location. You'd then have to prove that whats-his-name was actually at that location at each of those times. Did he use an unsecured wifi hotspot all the time? Did he use his home address? Work? Is there a pattern that points to one individual or group of individuals?

      "I don't computer much." So now you have to prove that he's got the skills to actually work the botnet himself, or have the case tossed out or not get to conviction. You'd have to watch the guy actually working. Is he a computer programmer at his day job? Does he have a degree in CS?

      It takes a long time to build a solid case. How long did it take for the Unibomber to get to trial? The FBI searched his 10 x 10 shack for six months. What about Robert Pickton? They're still looking through his farm. Things don't get solved in 30 minutes with a pretty bow.

      • by Artifakt (700173)

        They just went back to Charles Manson's ranch in 2008 and dug everywhere a dog showed interest, just in case they found new evidence for some disappearances that still haven't been solved since before the Tate/LaBianca murders. That's about a 39 year gap before an investigation gone cold got reopened, and it didn't lead to a new conviction in this case. Yet nobody is complaining that the police were negligent in not doing it right after the family arrests. Some times, nobody thinks of the thing that might c

  • It's just funny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by talmai (986678) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:35PM (#33070882)
    I'm from Slovenia and this year, it seems like we're in the news (and that's big, because we're sooooo small that any little thing about us in foreign media makes us go crazy). First the soccer thing, where we didn't loose to the USA and England, almost ending up in next round and now the biggest botnet seems to be coded here "on the sunny side of Alps". The last part is probably not good publicity but hey, even better, we're bad enough for FBI, how's that for some tiny little country where you can't event sneeze without delivering your germs either to Croatia or Italy.
    Slovenians are climaxing right now. Somewhere in between "he [the hacker] should have known better, yet, he's a genius" and "letting FBI take him would mean the end of our sovereignty, our government should employ him".

    I'll just sit back and enjoy watching. Comments by fellow citizens who don't know much about computers are just hilarious, I don't know about our national media, it's scary how poor the reporting is.
    • by symbolset (646467)
      Botnet design does have useful legitimate applications. Just without the sans-permission part.
  • .. hopefully that will deter people from making new types of botnet.

    But at the same time we're still talking about one instance of a botnet and one that's not very stealthy at that .. unfortunately we seem to be playing catch-up to the various new botnets constantly being released rather than getting ahead. The problem is getting worse now that criminals are starting to create malware kits that any script kiddy can use to create a new variant of a botnet type

    Beyond the well-known botnets like Zeus and
  • Now that they got him, could they not send out a command to all infected to repair themselves and delete any known botnets including this one from the hard drives, at some point, it would be nice to use the now discovered botnets and their code to do some good for a change, or do they want us to keep it there so they can still monitor xxx hacker still using it....

  • As far as local news go, he is just the author of virus and had no other relation to botnet. He sold the virus to various folks for around 500-1500 and mariposa guys were just one of many buyers. so the only thing he can be tried for is production of malicious software. Also, he was already bailed out after preliminary hearing.

"Well hello there Charlie Brown, you blockhead." -- Lucy Van Pelt

Working...