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Three young hackers who were sentenced late last year for creating and spreading the notorious Mirai botnet are now helping the FBI to investigate other “complex” cybercrime cases in return to avoid their lengthy prison terms.

Paras Jha, 21 from New Jersey, Josiah White, 20 from Washington, and Dalton Norman, 21 from Louisiana, plead guilty in December 2017 to multiple charges for their role in creating and hijacking hundreds of thousands IoT devices to make them part of a notorious botnet network dubbed Mirai.

Mirai malware scanned for insecure routers, cameras, DVRs, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices which were using their default passwords and then made them part of a botnet network.

The trio developed the Mirai botnet to attack rival Minecraft video gaming hosts, but after realizing that their invention was powerful enough to launch record-breaking DDoS attacks against targets like OVH hosting website, they released the source code of Mirai.

The release of source code eventually led to more cyber attacks conducted by various criminals against websites and Internet infrastructure, one of which was the popular DNS provider Dyn which made much of the Internet unusable on the East Coast in October 2016.

The Mirai botnet attacks were then investigated by the FBI in 2017, and the cybercriminals were sentenced by the Chief U.S. District Judge in Alaska in December 2017.

images from Hacker News