"Botnet" hacker pleads guilty to scheme that netted $61K

A 20-year-old hacker pled guilty today to charges he'd pwned thousands of computers, using the "zombie network" to serve pop-up ads and renting access to it so that others could attack websites and broadcast spam.

Jeanson James Ancheta, of Downey, California, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to four felony charges for crimes, including infecting machines at two U.S. military sites, that earned him more than $61,000, said federal prosecutor James Aquilina. Under a plea agreement, which still must be approved by a judge, Ancheta faces up to 6 years in prison and must pay the federal government restitution. He also will forfeit his profits and a 1993 BMW. Sentencing is scheduled for May 1.