Eric Crocker of Binghamton, N.Y. was one of a dozen people charged this summer for his participation in a hacking forum known as Darkode. The 29-year-old recently pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court to violating the CAN-SPAM Act.
Crocker operated under the pseudonym “Phastman” and used a hacking tool called Facebook Spreader, which infected Facebook-connected PCs and turned them into bots. Crocker profited by selling access to his bots, which scammers then used to send out massive amounts of spam. The virus was designed to send a Facebook message to the affected users’ friends with an attached malware file that runs as soon as it is clicked.
Crocker and hackers of his caliber would have made about $200 to $300 for every 10,000 computers infected. This scheme likely earned Crocker as much as $21 million.
“This operation is a great example of what international law enforcement can accomplish when we work closely together to neutralize a global cybercrime marketplace,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in July.
According to the FBI, Crocker faces up to three years in prison or a fine of $250,000, or possibly both. His sentencing is scheduled for November 23rd.