IoT Botnet Developer Gets 13-Month Sentence

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A Washington man has been sentenced to 13 months behind bars for his part in developing, using and selling access to DDoS botnets based on the infamous IoT malware Mirai.

Kenneth Currin Schuchman, 22, of Vancouver, was handed his sentence late last week after pleading guilty last September to one count of fraud and related activity in connection with computers, in violation of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act.

The botnets, known as Satori, Okiru, Masuta and Tsunami/Fbot, were used to compromise hundreds of thousands of connected devices worldwide, according to the Department of Justice.

Schuchman, who went by online aliases including “Nexus” and “Nexus-Zeta,” worked with co-conspirators “Vamp” and “Drake” to build on the Mirai code with new capabilities. His expertise was apparently in finding new vulnerabilities in IoT devices, which could subsequently be exploited to remotely control them.

After being arrested and charged in August 2018, Schuchman is said to have developed another IoT botnet, Qbot, while on supervised release, and also called in a swatting attack on “Vamp’s” home.

Vamp, Drake and UK national “Viktor” have also been charged for their roles in operating and developing the botnets.

“Cyber-criminals depend on anonymity, but remain visible in the eyes of justice,” said US attorney Brian Schroder. “Today’s sentencing should serve as a reminder that together with our law enforcement and private sector partners, we have the ability and resolve to find and bring to justice those that prey on Alaskans and victims across the United States.”

As part of his sentence, Schuchman will be required to serve 18 months of community confinement following his release from prison, and three years of supervised release.

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