After two years since release, one of the Mirai authors gets six months of house arrest
Paras Jha, one of Mirai authors, finally gets sentenced for six months of house arrest for developing and misusing the self-propagating malware strain Mirai in 2016. Additionally, the man was ordered to pay $8.6 million in damages and serve 2,500 hours of community service.
The malware was developed by three hackers: Paras from New Jersey, Josiah White of Washington and Dalton Norman from Metairie. The guys have already been sentenced for five years of probation and were ordered to pay $127,000 in restitution for the damage caused by their malware creation. However, Paras Jha faced the court at the end of October for the second time for the Mirai attack at his alma mater – Rutgers University.
According to investigators, Jha carried out the attacks to take down the Internet services at the University for personal reasons, not to make money. However, later on, Jha dropped out of the university because of the academical difficulties.
The government stated in the sentencing memo:
He revealed in the uproar caused by the first attack, which he launched to delay upper-classmen registration for an advanced computer science class he wanted to take. The second attack was launched to delay his calculus exam. The last two attacks were motivated in part by the publicity and outrage.
Mirai attack on Rutgers University
When Paras Jha developed Mirai with two other guys, he was studying computer science at Rutgers University. The hacker used Mirai botnet to launch at least four DDoS attacks against the University's network. This botnet uses poorly secured Internet devices like routers, security cameras and connects them to implement large-scale cyber attacks.
Jha executed a series of the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in Rutgers University. As the result, the central authentication server of the university was shut down leaving the faculty, students, and the staff incapable of delivering assignments via the gateway portal. Then the compromised devices were used as a network proxy to redirect the internet traffic.
According to the press release, infected devices were used in advertising fraud when clicks on advertisements, URLs, and redirects artificially generate revenue. According to Rutgers University's authorities, Paras Jha attacks have cost them $8.6 million.
Jha was identified as the co-author almost a year before the guilty plea
In January 2017, Paras Jha was identified as the likely co-author of Mirai botnet by KrebsOnSecurity. The man was using the pseudonyms “Ogmemes” and “OgRichardStallman” while giving interviews for local papers. He stated that Rutgers needs to purchase DDoS protection service to prevent future attacks. At the time, Jha was a co-founder of a firm that offered such services.
However, the federal judge sentenced Jha for creating, wielding and selling the access to Mirai. According to the prosecutor, the trio did not deserve jail time for their malicious activities because they cooperated with the government and helped in the investigation of other cybercrimes.
However, the court that was held in October ended by the official punishment for Paras Jha. Hacker responsible for the Rutgers attack is ordered to stay in his parent's home at New Jersey for the next six months. The sentence also includes the same 2,500 hours of community services and a requirement to pay $8.6 million in restitution for the cost of university.