LOS ANGELES (CN) – A Wyoming teen has been charged with infecting computers to create botnets, or armies of 5,000 to 15,000 zombie computers, that he used to steal credit card and banking information.
In the first case of its kind, Jason Michael Milmont, 19, of Cheyenne, agreed to plead guilty to a federal felony charge of unauthorized access to a computer. Milmont allegedly developed the “Nugache Worm,” which he used to infiltrate computers running the Windows operating system and spread through modified peer-to-peer software.
In his plea agreement, Milmont described how he developed the malicious computer code – called malware – to work as Trojan software that other unsuspecting Web surfers downloaded through instant messaging programs and the peer-to-peer network Limewire. Milmont was then able to take control of the infected computers to obtain confidential financial information, prosecutors claim. He also herded the compromised computers, or “zombies,” to carry out an Internet attack on an unspecified online business in southern California without the computer owners’ knowledge, the Justice Department said.
Milmont agreed to plead guilty before a federal judge in Cheyenne. He could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He also agreed to pay $73,866 in restitution.