Suspected Mariposa botnet mastermind goes on trial

Filed Under: Botnet, Featured, Law & order, Malware

Butterfly. Image from ShutterstockA hacker, believed to have created the Mariposa botnet which compromised millions of computers across the globe, has gone on trial in Slovenia.

Matjaž Škorjanc, who is 26 years old, is believed by the authorities to be the hacker known as "Iserdo", and was arrested in the city of Maribor, Slovenia two years ago.

Škorjanc's arrest followed an international investigation by the FBI and Slovenian and Spanish police.

Computer crime-fighting authorities had succeeded in bringing down the Mariposa botnet at the end of 2009, but at its height, the botnet (named after the Spanish word for "butterfly") had silently recruited almost 13 million computers in more than 190 countries.

The computers had been hijacked by hackers after being infected by the polymorphic W32/Rimecud family of malware, which spread itself via a number of methods including copying itself to removable storage devices, instant messaging and P2P file-sharing systems.

Once a computer had been compromised and brought into the botnet, operators could steal information from innocent users - including credit card details and banking passwords.

According to police, code created by the masterminds of the Mariposa botnet was sold to hundreds of other cybercriminals around the world.

Škorjanc's former girlfriend, Nuša Čoh, is also standing trial - accused of being an accomplice in alleged money laundering.

Three suspects arrested in Spain have not yet stood trial.

Butterfly image from Shutterstock.

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2 Responses to Suspected Mariposa botnet mastermind goes on trial

  1. Internaut · 1159 days ago

    Such wasted talent. Greed, it seems, overcomes logic and turning intelligence in to mush.

    If he is indeed found guilty, then sufficient time in the Black Bar hotel may help deter others from following. Unfortunately, identity theft is too lucrative a business. That and the seemingly easy money recruits talented people.

    Will the penalty be a harsh waring to others, or will it be a slap on the wrist? Just what does he deserve - if found guilty?

    • bblightnin · 1159 days ago

      An hour in prison for every computer his greed compromised.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley