Hacker Faces 60 Years

    November 12, 2007

A Los Angeles computer security consultant has admitted to hijacking more than 250,000 PCs to steal money and identities.

Federal prosecutors said Friday that John Kenneth Schiefer, a 26- year-old computer security consultant, used the hijacked computers, known as "botnet," to operate a number of schemes to take advantage of unsuspecting users and corporations.

Hacker Faces 60 Years

Schiefer agreed to plead guilty to four felony charges related to the case and faces up to 60 years in prison and a $1.75 million fine.

Schiefer went by the handles "acidstorm", "acid" and "storm" and is the first person to be accused under a federal wiretapping law of operating a botnet. Prosecutors say that by intercepting electronic communications, Schiefer stole users names and passwords for PayPal’s online payment service to make fraudulent purchases. He also shared stolen account information with others.

According to court documents, a conspirator named "Adam" told Schiefer that he was concerned about stealing money. Schiefer responded by telling Adam that he was not yet 18 and should "quit being a bitch and claim it."