Kelihos botnet administrator sentenced to 33 months in prison

A 40-year-old Russian man has been sentenced to 33 months in prison in the United States for operating the Kelihos botnet, which corresponds to the time he has already spent in pre-trial detention, the AP news agency said. The Kelihos botnet had been operational since 2010 and consisted of tens of thousands of infected computers.

Cybercriminals took advantage of the botnet in a variety of ways, including sending stock spam and spreading malware. The botnet was, among other things, responsible for the spread of ransomware in the Netherlands. In its years of operation, Kelihos sent out millions of spam and phishing emails. Simultaneously with the arrest of the Russian man in 2017, the botnet was taken off the air by the FBI.

The US Attorney's Office said the man had managed multiple botnets from the late 1990s until his arrest in April 2017, including the Storm botnet, the Waledac botnet and the Kelihos botnet. The latter botnet would have consisted of at least 50,000 computers. The Russian man pleaded guilty in 2018 to deliberately damaging a secure computer, conspiracy, "wire fraud" and identity theft.

According to the judge, the financial damage caused via the botnet was not as great as the justice authorities claimed in a report, which demanded a 12-year prison sentence. According to the judge, there was a serious and sophisticated offense that should be punished.

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