Three men pleaded guilty yesterday to creating the infamous Mirai botnet, which is responsible for knocking offline some of the world’s most popular websites late last year.

Dalton Norman, 21, Paras Jha, 21, and Josiah White, 20, admitted conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. According to the Department of Justice, the three men exploited vulnerabilities in IoT devices to conscript them into the botnet, ultimately involving over 300,000 compromised endpoints.

The botnet was used to launch DDoS attacks against organizations and extort money from victims to stop the attacks or sell them DDoS mitigation services.

The DoJ explained, “The defendants’ involvement with the original Mirai variant ended in the fall of 2016 when Jha posted the source code for Mirai on a criminal forum. Since then, other criminal actors have used Mirai variants in a variety of other attacks.”

The three men insist they were not responsible for the attack on DNS firm Dyn that knocked offline some of the biggest players on the web, including Twitter, Spotify, and PayPal.

In addition to the Mirai botnet, Jha and Norman pleaded guilty to building a click fraud botnet made up of 100,000 compromised devices including internet routers. Jha also pleaded guilty to a series of DDOS attacks against Rutgers University.

While defending against a DDoS can seem like a daunting task, you can significantly reduce your risk by following these few steps:

  • Implement System & Device Hardening to your IT environment
  • Continuously monitor using FIM
  • Stay on the lookout for Botnets
  • Keep a close eye on performance metrics and scalability
  • Implement a security awareness program

 

 

Read the article on InfoSecurity Magazine

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