Bredolab Bot Herder Gets 4 Years for 30 Million Infections

Armenia handed down its first computer crime sentence on Tuesday with punishment of the mastermind behind the Bredolab botnet.

A district court sentenced 27-year-old Georgy Avanesov, a Russian citizen of Armenian descent, to four years in prison on charges of creating and spreading the Bredolab virus that infected an estimated 30 million computers around the world. The malware siphoned bank account passwords and other confidential information from infected computers.

According to prosecutors, Avanesov developed Bredolab in Armenia around March 2009 and used computer servers in Holland and France to spread the virus. They say he earned about $125,000 a month renting out access to compromised computers in his botnet so that criminals could use them to spread other malware, send out spam, or use them to conduct distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Avanesov reportedly confessed to investigators that he had written Bredolab, but denied having any knowledge of its criminal usage. He simply made it available to others, he argued, without foreknowledge of how they planned to use it.

He was arrested in 2010 after Dutch authorities seized control of about 143 infected computer servers that were servicing the botnet.

Although Armenia is not a leading haven for cybercriminals, the arrest and conviction of Avanesov there can be viewed as part of an encouraging trend to law enforcement agencies in the west, since it shows a willingness in some East European countries to begin clamping down on cyber criminals in a region that has long turned a blind eye to such activity.

Image courtesy FBI