November 30, 2007 8:37 AM PST

Police swoop in on New Zealand botmaster

Police swoop in on New Zealand botmaster
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New Zealand Police this week cracked down on an alleged botnet ringleader in New Zealand, who the FBI claims had illegal control over 1 million computers.

The sweep is part of the FBI's second phase of "Operation Bot Roast"--the same operation which resulted in four felony charges against 26-year-old Los Angeles security consultant John Schiefer.

The New Zealand suspect, who goes by the name of "Akill", came under fire after an information-sharing exercise between the New Zealand Police, the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI. He has been interviewed by New Zealand Police, and investigators have seized computers from his home.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said botnets are the "weapon of choice" for cybercriminals.

"They seek to conceal their criminal activities by using third-party computers as vehicles for their crimes. In Bot Roast II, we see the diverse and complex nature of crimes that are being committed through the use of botnets," Mueller said.

Since "Operation Bot Roast" was announced last June, eight individuals have been indicted, pled guilty or been sentenced for crimes related to botnet activity, according to the FBI. Law enforcement agencies have also served 13 search warrants in the U.S. and overseas.

FBI Cyber Division assistant director James Finch has warned users to protect their systems.

"Practicing strong computer-security habits, such as updating antivirus software, installing a firewall, using strong passwords, and employing good e-mail and Web-security practices, are as basic as putting locks on your doors and windows," Finch said.

"Without employing these safeguards, botnets, along with criminal and possibly terrorist activities, will continue to flourish," Finch added.

Most individuals identified by the FBI in "Operation Bot Roast II" are male, U.S. citizens, under 30 years old.

Liam Tung of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

See more CNET content tagged:
New Zealand, crime

5 comments

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Relying On Buyers For Security Is A Failure
Every computer that is sold at retail should be secure right out of the box. How long are we going to keep deluding ourselves that consumers have the savvy or inclination to do this on their own? We don't ask automobile owners to install their own seat belts, air bags, brakes, and safety glass.
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Relying on any one thing for security...
...yep, a failure.

If I buy a brand new Porsche 911, I'm damned sure going to not only lock the doors, but put a solid alarm system in it, not park it in bad areas of town after dark, etc etc...

No one thing keeps it safe from theft, but a combination of things will reduce the chance of it being stolen.

OTOH, You're talking Windows here. The thing is halfway insecure right out of the box. Good luck if you want to rely on your OEM to keep you safe...

[i]"We don't ask automobile owners to install their own seat belts, air bags, brakes, and safety glass.[/i]"

Not quite a good analogy; failing to keep safe on a computer means inconvenience and data loss. Failing to keep safe in a car means you stand a good chance of getting killed.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Hooray!
I hope they take out all of these people that get their jollies from ruining the internet for everyone else. If they took out all these people then their wouldn't be a danger of the internet crashing. I HATE these people!!!!
Posted by DawnCampbell (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bot Roast
Ya gotta love the FBI name :)
Posted by ggrs34 (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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