Inside The Trojan Horse Business

In late November, the Justice Department announced that they'd lived our dream: they got their hands on eight people that had infected unsuspecting computer users with Trojan Horse applications. InfoWorld profiled each of the perps, and it's fascinating to see the various ways they committed their crimes -- and the reasons they said they did it. Those range from plain old larceny to perceived slights on message boards. Look at bot-herder Gregory King:

The owners of the Web sites that the 21-year-old King harassed alleged in court filings that he engaged in a campaign of harassment, intimidation, threats, and finally massive DDoS attacks. Using the online monikers Silenz and GregK to taunt his victims in brazen online posts of threats and links to porn sites in IRC chat channels and message boards, he launched repeated attacks on Killanet, a Web site aimed at children and teenagers, dating back to June 2004 and continuing through October 2006. According to published news reports, King's motivation was revenge for perceived slights.

King had no interest in subtlety or in masking where his attacks originated from, and reportedly even dropped hints as to his real-life identity. He controlled his botnet from his parents' home in Fairfield, Calif., as well as from a nearby library, a McDonalds, and from a Best Buy store near his home.

In February 2007, King used his botnet to DDoS the servers used by Castlecops for five continuous days. The motivation for the attack: Castlecops moderators had deleted or modified some of King's more vitriolic posts to the message board. "If you edit my post once more, you will be sorry," King wrote in a post on February 13th. Four minutes later he was banned from the message board. That night, King launched his attack.

Talk about your Internet cliche. A denial of service attack launched from your mother's basement over a message board insult. I bet the Justice Department didn't even have to dust for fingerprints on his keyboard, they probably just took impressions from the Cheetos dust left on the keys.