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Computer Cracker Uses Botnet to Install Adware

Robert M. Bentley, aged 21, is scheduled for sentencing on May 28, 2008 after being accused of participating in a computer fraud. The charge could result in imposition of a prison term for a maximum period of 10 years, said the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District, Florida on March 6, 2008.

Bentley, who is also called as LSDigital on the Internet, used a botnet to infect the European computer network of Newell Rubbermaid with adware and by using botnet. A botnet refers to a collection of compromised PCs that a PC cracker takes over to use them for illegal activities.

The cracker gains access to office and home computers by getting users to install Trojan programs that secretly create a backdoor to allow the hacker to remotely control a computer. Users install trojans once they open attachments or click on links in e-mails or even on hacker built Websites.

Federal investigators say that Bentley remotely controlled a group of such zombie PCs and built a network to put it in operation and in affiliation to a European online advertising enterprise called Dollar Revenue.

Bentley then pushes Dollar Revenue's adware. An adware is software, which after installation onto a PC, displays pop-up ads when user's visits to Websites.

Meanwhile, according to Bentley's prosecutors, a company had paid Dollar Revenue to campaign its products. So, Dollar Revenue inserted the ads of that company into its own software and then passed it to Bentley who would load the software onto the PCs of people on the Internet. Dollar Revenue paid Bentley each time he installed the software. The Dollar Revenue infections became so frequent that Websites for computer security started posting elaborate instructions on the method of eliminating the adware program from computers.

Bentley operated through his botnet because a network like that could load the adware onto thousands of computers much faster and he could also earn the maximum from the per-install remuneration from Dollar Revenue. Further, if the owner of an infected PC like Newell tried to track down the source of the infection he would find only the remote-controlled PCs and not Bentley.

However, the group of investigator comprises of official of US Secret Service and European Police, working on operation called Operation Bot Roast II, changed the Bentley's connection.

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