A botnet is a group or network of computers that have been compromised, unbeknownst to the owners of the computers. Botnets are used for a number of malicious purposes, including obtaining information, sending spam and denial of service attacks that take down websites. Scammers typically use malware to install botnets, but it takes sophisticated computer and coding knowledge to create the malware and properly operate the botnet.
It is a serious crime to distribute or create malware and to illegally access and use computers. Those convicted could face charges of violating the federal law under 18 U.S. Code Section 1030, known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Frequently, those who participate in botnet-related fraud face multiple counts of criminal offenses since they allegedly affected many computers and because there are many cases of unlawfully accessing information or sending spam.
In order to avoid severe penalties, you need an aggressive defense strategy. Raiser & Kenniff, PC can help you if you have been accused of computer crimes such as botnet-related fraud. We understand the laws designed to impose penalties as well as the technical aspects of computer fraud offenses, and our legal team will strive to develop a vigorous defense to help reduce the penalties you face and keep you out of prison. Contact us today for more information.
Understanding Botnet-Related Fraud
Botnets develop when a group of computers is infected with malware. Scammers use bots to search for vulnerable computers which they can infect, and they use hacking and other methods to put malware on the computers. Scammers may also install botnets in trojan horses, which are downloads such as software programs that appear to be safe but which actually contain viruses or malware. A user may click on an email link or download a file that appears to be harmless and unknowingly install software onto the computer that ultimately gives the botmaster control of the device.
The person who uses malware to access the botnet is known as a botmaster. Rather than attempting to individually access each computer, he or she can simultaneously use all of the infected devices. Once the botmaster has control of the computer, he or she may:
– Perpetrate a denial of service attack, done in some cases to extort money from the website owners.
– Obtain private and personal information, including financial details, login data and passwords. This information can then be used in credit card fraud and identity theft crimes. Rather than use the information themselves, some botmasters may sell the information instead.
– Send out spyware, viruses or spam to millions of other computers in an attempt to gain information from the computers, to grow the bot network or to engage in other illegal activity.
– Engage in click fraud, where the computers boost website advertising income by automatically clicking ads.
The above are just a few examples of how a botmaster can use a botnet to engage in crimes. In some cases, a botmaster may test the waters with a smaller offense such as distributing an unlawful advertisement before he or she begins to illegally obtain financial information from the computer. Defendants may face criminal charges for the unauthorized access to computers, for the creation and distribution of malware and for any other unlawful or illegal activities which follow.
A New York Computer Crimes Attorney Can Help
Here at Raiser & Kenniff, PC, our legal team has years of experience representing clients facing accusations of botnet-related fraud and other types of cybercrimes. If you are charged with offenses related to computer tampering, computer fraud or Internet fraud, our computer crimes lawyers have unparalleled knowledge of these often-complicated and highly technical offenses.
If you are in need of legal representation and you are afraid to navigate the criminal justice system alone, contact us today. We have successfully helped many clients just like you to entirely avoid conviction or at least reduce the penalties that await them. We can help to answer your questions, and we will be with you every step of the way. We believe it is important for you to understand not only the consequences but your options as well. For more information or to speak with a NYC computer crimes lawyer, contact Raiser & Kenniff, PC today.