An Armenian court sentenced a 27-year old Russian man to four years in jail this week following his conviction in connection with the infamous Bredolab botnet that infected 30 million computers over the last few years.
G. Avanesov, later identified as Georgy Avanesov by several media outlets, was officially sentenced for committing computer sabotage by the Court of First Instance of Armenia’s Arabkir and Kanaker-Zeytun administrative districts Monday.
The sentencing marks the first time that a man has been jailed in Armenia for cyber crime, according to a report yesterday from ArmeniaLiberty.org, a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Avanesov is alleged to have been the mastermind behind an October, 2010 attack that used around 25% of the massive botnet to launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Russian telecommunications company Macomnet, according to a report from Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office. That attack brought down the Macomnet Web site and denied approximately 192 customers service according to the statement.
Avanesov admitted he was the botnet’s author before the trial, though his defense lawyer Gengam Hakobian reasoned he didn’t have criminal intent.
“Georgi Avanesov did not know anyone [involved in cyber crime] and did not intend to deliberately harm anyone,” Hakobian told Aravot, an Armenian newspaper.
One of the world’s largest botnets during its height at the end of 2009, Bredolab was linked to countless waves of spam and phishing e-mails as well as denial of service attacks. An investigation by the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) found the network was capable of distributing around 3.6 billion virus-laden e-mails daily, yet only three million computers were infected each month during this time.
An October, 2010 operation by NHTCU and law enforcement agents disrupted Bredolab, halting the flow of spam and DDoS attacks emanating from it and recovering 143 servers that were being used to run the botnet. Shortly after the botnet’s dissolution, Avanesov was arrested by Armenian authorities at Zvartnots International Airport in the country’s capital city Yerevan.