A story today from Arstechnica reveals that 21 year old Christopher Maxwell received a 37 month jail sentence for launching a botnet which, according to the source, allowed him and his friends to reap as much as $100,000 dollars. Not all hackers out there have an evil mind bent on wreaking havoc and anarchy in government and institutional networks, but the truth is they sometimes don’t realize the consequences of their actions. Maxwell’s botnet caused Seattle’s Northwest Hospital to switch to its “disaster plan” and teachers from Colton Unified School district “lost crucial instructional time”. Maxwell did measure how far his actions could take him when the sentence came down though .
As institutions rely more and more on networks and computerized information, we’re bound to see this type of news more often and probably at a greater scale. That’s why it’s essential to remind time and time again that you need to protect your PC. You can’t go without Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware or Spybot’s Search and Destroy. Both these solutions are free, easy to use and analyze your PC fairly quickly.