3 Plead Guilty in Mirai Botnet-Related Charges

3 Plead Guilty in Mirai Botnet-Related Charges

Three defendants have pleaded guilty to charges involving the Mirai botnet that was used to knock out several major websites last year, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.

Three defendants have pleaded guilty to charges involving the Mirai botnet that was used to knock out several major websites last year, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday. The Mirai botnet, a system of hacked internet-connected devices, was used in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on several major websites last year.

The Justice Department charged Paras Jha, Josiah White and Dalton Normal with building and renting out the Mirai botnet, a system of more than 300,000 hacked devices used to flood other websites with junk online traffic. The three men were not charged in connection to the attack that knocked out several major websites last year, but Jha did admit to participating in selling access to the Mirai botnet for others to use in attacks and to promoting it on criminal web forums.

Mirai generated traffic for DDoS attacks by creating networks of infected internet-connected devices and having them all contact a website at the same time. These large floods of traffic overwhelmed victims’ servers, crashing or at least severely slowing their websites.

The botnet served as a platform for hacking these devices. Researchers have determined that it infected nearly 65,000 devices in its first 20 hours and doubled in size every 76 minutes to ultimately build a sustained strength of between 200,000 and 300,000 devices, including routers and security cameras.

The networks built by Mirai were so large they broke several size records for DDoS attacks. One of its largest attacks took place on Oct. 21, 2016, when Mirai was used in a DDoS attack on the online technology provided Dyn, interrupting service to many sites – including Twitter, Etsy, Netflix and Reddit.

None of the men has been sentenced. The federal indictments were unsealed in federal court in Alaska.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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