Paras Jha of New Jersey has admitted to creating and running the Mirai botnet which caused huge outages across the Internet back in late 2016. The botnet consisted of hundreds of thousands of infected devices that were designed to flood websites with junk traffic. This resulted in one of the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks ever recorded. At its peak, Mirai took down Twitter, Netflix, Reddit and many other popular websites.
The botnet used infected Internet of Things devices, Wi-Fi routers and security cameras to create such a large amount of traffic. Jha and two other conspirators have now been charged for their role in leasing out the botnet to customers, using it for ad click fraud and running extortion schemes with the threat of DDoS attacks unless the victim paid. Their identities and source code were revealed by security researcher Brian Krebs following the attacks.
According to federal authorities, Jha has had no shortage of involvement with the world of botnets. He founded a company called Protraf Solutions LLC which provided customers with protection from DDoS attacks for a fee of up to $3,000 a month. This was just a shell company though as Jha was actively launching attacks against other rivals in an effort to gain new customers out of fear that they would be next.
As long as consumers remain unwilling to regularly patch their devices, attackers will continue to find security vulnerabilities. It's not all bad news, however, as there are many security researchers actively working to protect users and prevent these botnets from spreading. Using knowledge gained from Mirai and other botnets, they are able to more quickly stop their attacks and locate their creators.