Rutgers student blamed for ‘worst internet attack in history’
NEW BRUNSWICK — A Rutgers University student is being blamed for being responsible for the biggest cyber attack in internet history.
Brian Krebs — a former Washington Post reporter who wrote about computer security — wrote a lengthy piece on his own website, accusing Rutgers student Paras Jha of Fanwood of writing of malware that uses poorly secured devices like webcams and wireless routers to create the Mirai botnet, a digital "army" of devices in last year's large-scale cyber attack.
The attack, which came in two waves in October, brought down access to a number of popular websites including Twitter, CNN, Direct TV, PayPal, Spotify, Yelp and Verizon. Krebs said Jha — who he said is known by the alias Anna-Senpai — didn't launch the attack but released the code for the Mirai botnet that allowed hackers to launch their own cyber attacks.
Jha's father confirmed to NJ.com earlier this week his son had been interviewed by the FBI about the attack — described by computer experts as the worst cyberattack in the history of the internet — but denied any involvement by his son. A former assistant U.S. attorney who has been retained by the family, also told the news site Jha hadn't been charged with anything.
"I know what he is capable of," Anand Jha told the news site. "Nothing of the sort of what has been described here has happened."
Rutgers University spokeswoman Karen Smith told New Jersey 101.5 "we continue to cooperate with all appropriate law enforcement authorities in connection with the ongoing investigation of the DDOS attacks. This is a very serious matter and we will have no further comment while this matter is under investigation."
David Loudon, an IT consultant working with New Jersey 101.5, said Krebs "gets major points in my book for thoroughness in his investigation." He said Krebs' investigation seems credible — but also said he can't be sure about Krebs' conclusions.
"All of his evidence is circumstantial, so I don’t know if I could be as certain as he seems to be about who the culprit is. But the totality of his work is impressive. All he’s missing is a smoking gun," Loudon said.
Loudon said if true, "this would be an example of old-school hacking, where the perpetrator is a highly intelligent curious individual who is not necessarily following the profit motive that drives so much hacking these days. Or it could just be a bunch of coincidences. Hard to say."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com
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