Indian American student arrested on charges of cyber crime

The student was released on a $100,000 bail bond.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday arrested a 26-year-old Indian American graduate student on charges of carrying out cyber attacks on a chat site, IANS reports.

Sean Krishanmakoto Sharma, who is a computer science student at the University of California in Los Angeles, was produced before federal Magistrate Judge Alka Sagar in Los Angeles on Monday and was released on a $100,000 bail bond.

According to a statement released by the federal prosecutor for Northern California Brian Stretch, Sharma had used a “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) tool to disrupt the computers of Chatango, a San Francisco company that provides chat services to other companies between November 2014 and January 2015.

DDoS is a form of cyber attack that floods computers with bogus requests that overwhelm and paralyse it. It uses virusus and programs known as botnets because they robotically transmit disruptive requests to servers, and Trojans, which are secretly implanted in other people’s computers to carry out attacks from there.

Sharma used a botnet called Xtreme Fire to carry out the attacks, a court document said.

Sharma’s arrest was part of a joint anti-cyber crime operation by the US, Australia and 11 European countries that was coordinated by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at The Hague, in the Netherlands.

During the five-day operation conducted from December 5, a total of 34 people were arrested, the FBI said.

The head of EC3, Steven Wilson noted that many computer enthusiasts are getting involved in “low-level fringe cyber crime”

“One of the key priorities of law enforcement should be to engage with these young people to prevent them from pursuing a criminal path, helping them understand how they can use their skills for a more constructive purpose,” he said.

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