Alleged Fil-Am “Bot Master” arrested in US

In a news item from Inq7.net, 20-year-old Fil-Am immigrant Jeanson James Ancheta was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and indicted for allegedly creating and selling an army of bots — malicious computer programs that can be used to subvert networks and make them launching pads for distributed denial of service attacks or mass spamming.

As further quoted from this news item:

US authorities claim Ancheta, through his bots, seized control of an estimated 400,000 computers.

“Ancheta is charged with two counts of conspiracy, two counts of attempted transmission of code to a protected computer, two counts of transmission of code to a government computer, five counts of accessing a protected computer to commit fraud and five counts of money laundering. Count 17 of the indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than 60,000 dollars in cash, a BMW automobile and computer equipment that the indictment alleges are the proceeds and instrumentalities of Ancheta’s illegal activity,” according to the statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

If convicted on all 17 federal charges, Ancheta faces up to 50 years in prison.

Ancheta denied the charges.

The US criminal justice has become so complicated that it can punish very detailed acts. Hence, there were 17 charges of five specific crimes.

Had this happened in the Philippines, I can only think of three charges, suits or legal remedies, namely:

1. Section 33 of Republic Act No. 8792, otherwise known as the “E-Commerce Act of 2000” that states:

Hacking or cracking which refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information and communications system, including the introduction of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption, destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic document shall be punished by a minimum fine of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) and a maximum commensurate to the damage incurred and a mandatory imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years.

2. Section 4(a) of Republic Act No. 9160, otherwise known as the “Anti-Money Laudering Act of 2001,” as amended, that states:

Section 4. Money Laundering Offense. ““ Money Laundering is a crime whereby the proceeds of an unlawful activity are transacted, thereby making them appear to have originated from legitimate sources. It is committed by the following:
(a) Any person knowing that any monetary instrument or property represents, involves, or relates to the proceeds of any unlawful activity, transacts or attempts to transact said monetary instrument or property.

This has a penalty of imprisonment ranging from seven (7) to fourteen (14) years and a fine of not less than Three million Philippine pesos (Php3,000,000.00) but not more than twice the value of the monetary instrument or property involved in the offense. (Section 14 of the same law).

3. A civil suit for damages by the owners of those systems affected.

Note that the penalties involved may be interpreted to cover 17 counts under Section 33 since it appears Ancheta committed 17 separate acts. Hence, he could face a maximum prison term of 106 years (12*3=36 years for the hacking/cracking counts plus 14*5=70 years for the money laudering) if convicted on all counts, exclusive of the fine and civil damages.

If he is convicted here, of course…

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  • The Filipino-made Love Bug virus spurred the passage of the E-commerce Act.

    Wonder if this one will have any repercussions.