Cyberattacker pleads guilty

A hacker indicted for creating botnet armies that infected Defense Information Systems Agency networks and computers at the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, Calif., pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing earlier this week in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the Justice Department said.

Justice said James Ancheta 20, of Downey, Calif, entered guilty pleas of conspiring to violate the Computer Fraud Abuse Act and causing damage to computers used in national defense.

Justice said the prosecution of Ancheta was the first of its kind in the United States against a hacker who used botnets, armies of computers infected with Trojan horse programs that allowed Ancheta to remotely control the computers. Justice said Ancheta controlled more than 400,000 computers as part of his botnet armies, which in turn infected other computers with unwanted adware.

Ancheta agreed to pay $15,000 in restitution to DISA and the Naval Air Warfare Center for damage he caused to their networks and computers. He also forfeited $60,000 in cash and a BMW, which he gained in payment for using his botnets to distribute adware.

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