Computer virus suspect arrested in LA

Friday, November 4th 2005, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A young man was arrested on charges of spreading viruses to almost 400,000 military and other computers, letting him put ``armies'' of electronics under his control.

James Ancheta, 20, then charged hackers and spammers for access to the so-called botnets, and he also downloaded adware programs so he could profit from the placements, federal prosecutors said.

Among computers infected by the malicious code, which helped launch viruses and send spam e-mails, were machines operated by the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake and the Defense Information Systems Agency, part of the Defense Department, the prosecutors said.

``With one command, he could redirect thousands of computers to another server he controlled,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Aquilina said.

The 17-count indictment charges conspiracy, money laundering, transmission of code to a government computer and accessing a protected computer to commit fraud. If convicted on all counts, Ancheta could face 50 years in prison.

Prosecutors also want to confiscate more than $60,000 in cash, a BMW and computer equipment they say Ancheta used in the scheme.