Federal prosecutors indicted a 20-year-old man who built the Satori botnet

Pierluigi Paganini August 31, 2018

A youngster (20) from Washington was indicted last week on federal computer hacking charges after rival hackers fingered him as the creator of a Mirai variant dubbed Satori.

MalwareMustDie Team: “It’s time for every teenager or young man to know that playing with malware is the fastest way to finish in the jail”

Mirai, Mirai and again Mirai: after the source code has been leaked online gangs of teenagers have been engaged in a new playground. Based on a (solid) software infrastructure Mirai is still able to work well and to be lethal also because the effort to update it is not titanic and the skills of the hacker can be modest. In other words, infecting the Planet nowadays it is (still) very easy and the attack pattern seems clear: download Mirai source code, change the exploits, and everything works fine, but this time the story did not have a happy ending.

The news comes from the legendary Kevin Poulsen who has posted the news on the Daily Beast reporting that “a 20-year-old Washington man was indicted last week on federal computer hacking charges after rival hackers fingered him as the creator of a notorious botnet tearing through routers around the world.”

“last December, researchers at the Check Point cybersecurity firm traced Satori to an amateur known as “Nexus Zeta” who frequented a web forum for untrained and wannabe malicious hackers. Two months later, a little-noticed Pastebin post by rival hackers purported to reveal Nexus Zeta’s real identity, naming the same Kenneth Schuchman indicted last week.” wrote Poulsen.

Then Kenneth Schuchman who “lives in Vancouver, Washington with his father”, now is indicted even if the indictment doesn’t name the malware, but “all signs point to the virulent Satori botnet that surfaced last fall, and has infected at least 500,000 internet routers around the word”, added Kevin Poulsen.


The activity of the Satori botnet has been observed by CheckPoint security at the end of 2017, below the findings included in a report published by the firm.

  • “A Zero-Day vulnerability (CVE-2017-17215) in the Huawei home router HG532 has been discovered by Check Point Researchers, and hundreds of thousands of attempts to exploit it have already been found in the wild.
  • The delivered payload has been identified as OKIRU/SATORI, an updated variant of Mirai.
  • The suspected threat actor behind the attack has been identified by his nickname, ‘Nexus Zeta’.” states the report published by Check Point security


The strange thing about those wannabe hackers is that their emotional background plays a crucial role during the investigation: as Mr. Poulsen reports  Kenneth Schuchman wrote on Facebook in 2015 regarding Pokemon Go: “I do black hat hacking all the time and I haven’t even downloaded this game let alone played it.”. From “blackhat hacking all the time” to the jail the passage is short.

I asked a quick comment to Odisseus, an Italian member of the MalwareMustDie team. MalwareMustDie members fight against malware since a long time and is the group who firstly, in the world, discovered and analyzed Mirai for the very first time in the late August 2016 thanks to the excellent reverse engineering skills of their head @unixfreaxjp.

“It’s been two years since Mirai has been discovered and it’s still able to infect thousands of routers around the world: but this news appears like a symbolic anniversary. It is very important to give space to this kind of news because every teenager or young man needs to know that playing with malware is the fastest way to finish in jail”.

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Edited by Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – cybercrime, botnet)

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