A 21-year-old Indian-American man has pleaded guilty in federal court to being one of the architects of a computer virus that in October 2016 caused one of the worst outages in the history of the Internet, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Paras Jha, a former computer science student at the Rutgers University in New Jersey, along with 20-year-old Josiah White of Pennsylvania and 21-year-old Dalton Norman of Louisiana created a botnet called Mirai that attacked the servers of Dyn, a company that controls much of the internet’s domain name system infrastructure, reported The Guardian.
Prosecutors, however, said that Jha had uploaded the code for Mirai to online criminal fora before the attack occurred, and the three were not directly responsible for the attack. They have charged Jha for computer fraud which includes the disabling of Rutgers University’s Internet network and mocking administration officials on social media, NJ.com reported.
“Paras Jha has admitted his responsibility for multiple hacks of the Rutgers University computer system,” acting US Attorney William Fitzpatrick said on Wednesday. “The defendant’s actions effectively paralysed the system for days at a time and maliciously disrupted the educational process for tens of thousands of Rutgers’ students.”
Jha’s attorney Robert Stahl said that his client was sorry for what he did and had accepted responsibility for his actions. “Paras Jha is a brilliant young man whose intellect and technical skills far exceeded his emotional maturity.”
The Indian-American man faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. He will be sentenced on March 13.