27 Dec 2013

Mariposa Botnet Creator Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

The creator of the Mariposa botnet and Rimecud malware, Matjaž Škorjanc, was sentenced by a Slovenian court to almost five years in prison. His former girlfriend, Nuša Čoh was sentenced to eight months’ probation for money laundering, according to the BBC.

The malware was developed to steal important information and allegedly infected nearly 13 million computers. Matjaž Škorjanc is alleged to have sold the stolen information to hundreds of cyber-criminals.

“I think the sentence is significant and will be remembered as a milestone in the prosecution of cybercrimes," Keith Murphy, chief executive of Defence Intelligence told the BBC. "It reflects that authorities have realised the damage that can be wrought by a piece of code, and are now starting to equate it to physical theft. The 'wild west' days of cybercrime are over, even in smaller countries."

Authorities took down the Mariposa botnet in 2009 and arrested Škorjanc the following year.

Škorjanc’s lawyer plans to appeal the sentence, while the prosecutors aim to challenge again the court’s ruling, going for a higher sentence of 7.5 years.