Brazilian Man Charged in Botnet Conspiracy

A federal grand jury has indicted a Brazilian man for selling the Shadow botnet as well as the underlying bot code. Federal authorities allege the man was a key figure in the operation of the Shadow botnet, which infected more than 100,000 computers worldwide.

A federal grand jury has indicted a Brazilian man for his role in the proliferation of the infamous Shadow botnet.

Leni de Abreu Neto of Taubate, Brazil, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to cause damage to computers worldwide by a federal grand jury in New Orleans for his role in a conspiracy to sell a network of computers infected with malicious software, according to the Department of Justice.

The indictment alleges that prior to May 2008, Abreu worked with others, including unindicted co-conspirator Nordin Nasiri of Sneek, Netherlands, to maintain, use, lease and sell an illegal botnet that infected more than 100,000 computers worldwide. DOJ officials said Abreu used the botnet and paid for the servers hosting it.

The indictment alleges that between May and June 2008, Abreu and Nasiri agreed to broker a deal to lease the botnet to a third party. According to the indictment, Abreu expected the botnet to be used to send spam through the infected computers, and the two agreed to broker the sale of both the botnet and the underlying bot code to a third party for 25,000 euros.

Abreu was taken into custody in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities July 29 and is confined there pending extradition. Nasiri was also arrested by Dutch authorities and is being prosecuted in the Netherlands.

If convicted, Abreu faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to three years of supervised release. Abreu also faces the greater of a $250,000 fine or the gross amount of any pecuniary gain, or the gross amount of any pecuniary loss suffered by the victims, according to the DOJ.

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this story, Leni de Abreu Neto was identified as Neto after the first reference. Neto however is a suffix; his surname is Abreu.