DOJ Secures Pleas From Mirai Botnet Attackers

The Justice Department said it has secured guilty pleas in three cases of cyber attacks involving the Mirai and Clickfraud botnets, which hijacked thousands of IoT devices.

The Mirai distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks blocked access to web sites along the East Coast in October of last year, including Twitter and reddit.

Defendants in Alaska pleaded guilty to creating and operating the botnets, while another in New Jersey pleaded guilty to launching an attack on Rutgers University.

“The Mirai and Clickfraud botnet schemes are powerful reminders that as we continue on a path of a more interconnected world, we must guard against the threats posed by cybercriminals that can quickly weaponize technological developments to cause vast and varied types of harm,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan of the guilty pleas. “The Criminal Division will remain constantly vigilant in combating these sophisticated schemes, prosecuting cybercriminals, and protecting the American people.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), appropriately, used Twitter to say he was pleased with the pleas but added there was still much work to do to protect the myriad IoT devices.

Pleased that the DOJ has brought the hackers behind the Mirai Botnet to justice. I’ve been sounding the alarm on this for over a year, and much more work remains to secure the highly vulnerable #IoT devices that made Mirai possible. #IoTSecurity

— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) December 13, 2017

(Photo via Jeroen Bennink's Flickr. Image taken on Feb. 6, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.