Starting in August 2004, Ancheta turned to a new, more lucrative method to profit from his botnets, prosecutors said. Working with a juvenile in Boca Raton, Fla., whom prosecutors identified by his Internet nickname “SoBe,” Ancheta infected more than 400,000 computers.
Ancheta and SoBe signed up as affiliates in programs maintained by online advertising companies that pay people each time they get a computer user to install software that displays ads and collects information about the sites a user visits.
Prosecutors say Ancheta and SoBe then installed the ad software from the two companies — Gamma Entertainment of Montreal, Quebec, and Loudcash, whose parent company was acquired last year by 180Solutions of Bellevue, Wash. — on the bots they controlled, pocketing more than $58,000 in 13 months.
“It’s immoral, but the money makes it right,” Ancheta told SoBe during one online chat, according to the indictment.
Out of curiosity, what is the difference between a kid like this and, say, Sony? Both infected tens of thousands of computers with malware. Both espouse the same philosophy to justify that infection—
the money makes it right.
At first blush, it seems pretty similar. Given that, there
s really only a couple of differences. The first is that Ancheta
s network merely preyed on insecure systems, where as Sony
s network actually made systems insecure, opening them up to further infection by guys like Ancheta. And the second is that, when caught, the kid goes to jail, where as Sony
s team of lawyers just have to pay you seven dollars and fifty cents worth of imaginary money.
By the way, notice that the ad network Ancheta used—Loudcash—was acquired by 180solutions, who are also under investigation for being scumware jerks.