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23.12.2013 17:11
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Mariposa Botnet Mastermind Gets almost Five Years in Jail

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Sentences pronounced against hacker Matjaž Škorjanc (right) and his ex-girlfriend Nuša Čoh.
File photo.

Maribor, 23 December (STA) - Hacker Matjaž Škorjanc was sentenced to four years and ten months in jail by the Maribor District Court on Monday for devising a malicious software that infected an estimated ten million computers worldwide. He was also find guilty of money laundering and complicity in crime.

Škorjanc's ex-girlfriend Nuša Čoh was found guilty of complicity in money laundering, for which she received an eight-month suspended sentence.

Škorjanc was also given a EUR 3,000 fine and will in addition have to cover the costs of trial, which are likely to be substantial considering the length of proceedings and cooperation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Both defendants as well as the prosecution have announced they will appeal against the verdict. The prosecution has demanded jail time of seven years and six months plus a fine of EUR 10,000.

If the Higher Court confirms the ruling, Škorjanc will also lose the flat and the car he bought with the illegally gained means.

Škorjanc, also known as Iserdo, authored one of the most sophisticated pieces of malicious code specifically designed to infect computers.

One of his main clients was the Spanish crime ring which used the software to hack computers worldwide and connected them through the Mariposa botnet.

The prosecution argued that the code was used by buyers as a tool for illegal activities such as theft of passwords and other secret data.

Škorjanc, a former medicine student, advised the buyers of his software and gave them instructions for use. He is believed to have made at least EUR 114,000 selling his software to international cybercrime gangs, while the damage caused by others using his code is estimated at several ten million euros.

The buyers paid money to the account of Škorjanc's ex-girlfriend, who gave the money to Škorjanc in cash. The court found her guilty of complicity in money laundering, although she had denied knowing the money was "dirty".

Her lawyer Borut Mihurko said the defence was satisfied in principle that the trial had shown Čoh did not know the money was of illegal origin. "The question whether she should have known is rather hypothetical and relative, so we'll have to face off arguments before the appellate court," Mihurko said.

23.12.2013 17:11

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