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Mirai Author Gets House Arrest for DDoS Attacks on University

The author of the Mirai malware has been sentenced to six months of house arrest and ordered to pay $8.6 million in restitution for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the systems of Rutgers University.

Paras Jha, 22, of Fanwood, New Jersey, was sentenced on Friday in a New Jersey court after pleading guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). In addition to home confinement and paying restitution, Jha’s sentence includes 2,500 hours of community service and five years of supervised release.

Authorities accused him of launching several DDoS attacks on Rutgers between November 2014 and September 2016.

“Jha’s attacks effectively shut down Rutgers University’s central authentication server, which maintained, among other things, the gateway portal through which staff, faculty, and students delivered assignments and assessments,” the Justice Department said on Friday. “At times, Jha succeeded in taking the portal offline for multiple consecutive periods, causing damage to Rutgers University, its faculty, and its students.”

In September, Jha, along with Josiah White and Dalton Norman, were sentenced in Alaska to five years of probation, 2,500 hours of community service, and ordered to pay $127,000 in restitution for creating and using Mirai and another botnet.

Authorities said at the time that the trio had “cooperated extensively” with the FBI on complex cybercrime investigations. They had also been ordered to cooperate with law enforcement and the research community.

The Mirai botnet ensnared a large number of IoT devices, allowing cybercriminals to launch powerful DDoS attacks and conduct click fraud. According to investigators, Jha, White and Dalton earned roughly $180,000 through their click fraud scheme.

Related: Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for DDoS Attacks, Firearm Charges

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.