Bredolab botnet author sentenced to 4 years in prison in Armenia

He was found guilty of using the botnet to launch multiple DDoS attacks

The creator of the Bredolab malware received a four-year prison sentence in Armenia on Monday for using his botnet to launch DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks that damaged multiple computer systems owned by private individuals and organizations.

G. Avanesov was sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Armenia's Arabkir and Kanaker-Zeytun administrative districts for offenses under Part 3 of the Article 253 of the country's Criminal Code -- intentionally causing damage to a computer system with severe consequences, the Office of Armenia's Prosecutor General said.

According to local media reports, G. Avanesov's full name is Georgy Avanesov, sometimes spelled as Georgi Avanesov, and he is a 27-year-old Russian citizen of Armenian descent.

Avanesov was arrested in October 2010 at Zvartnots airport in Yerevan, Armenia, a day after the Dutch High Tech Crime Unit disrupted the Bredolab botnet and seized 143 servers that were used to control it.

The Bredolab botnet was primarily used to send spam emails and launch DDoS attacks. The Dutch authorities estimated that over 30 million computers had been infected with the malware.

During pretrial questioning, Avanesov reportedly admitted having created the Bredolab malware, but claimed that he passed it on to an unknown individual without knowledge of the latter's criminal intentions, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said.

Avanesov was also initially charged with altering information stored on a computer system through means of unauthorized access, stealing computer data, creating hacking software with the intention of selling it and distributing malicious software.

However, all of those charges were dropped because of a decree of "General Amnesty on the Occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Independence Declaration of the Republic of Armenia" that was adopted by Armenia's National Assembly on May 26, 2011, the Prosecutor's General Office said.

One of the attacks that Avanesov was found guilty of instrumenting took place on Oct. 1, 2010, and targeted a Russian telecommunication company called Macomnet.

Avanesov instructed 25 percent of his botnet to hit a Macomnet IP address, which resulted in damage to the company's networking equipment and service downtime for around 192 of its customers, the Prosecutor's General Office said.

Avanesov is the first person to be jailed in Armenia for offenses related to cyber crime, RFE/RL said.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
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