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Ryan Neil Green, 32, of Paducah, Kentucky, received two years of probation and 50 hours of community service after admitting to creating and selling a spam botnet on the infamous Darkode hacking forum.
According to court documents, between 2006 and 2012, Green built a botnet of 77,000 bots, which he rented to other cyber criminals on Darkode, a forum where various categories of hackers and crooks met to buy or sell malware, hacking tools, and even drugs.
Authorities shut down Darkcode last summer
Green was one of 70 hackers arrested by law enforcement last year all over the world after officers infiltrated and shut down the Darkode forum.
Despite not being an active participant in recent dealings, Green’s user name and past activity were found in the forum archive, and he was arrested and later charged.
Green got off easy after turning his life around
Green got off easy without a prison sentence because he proved to the judge he turned his life around and gave up on any illegal activities.
Both the prosecution and the judge acknowledged that Green had in fact abandoned his past life as a hacker after his daughter’s birth and after he founded his own web design and search engine optimization company called Rygre Digital Marketing.
Because Green reformed his life on his own, there was no reason to punish him via a prison sentence.
The judge also didn’t want to prevent Green from providing for his daughter and didn’t want him to risk losing his business while he was in prison.
Assistant US Attorney James Kitchen, who led the Darkode takedown together with the FBI, told Trib Live that Green cooperated with the investigation from the get-go. This was another factor that helped Green receive a lighter sentence.
In May, another Darkode forum user from Louisiana, who was arrested at the same time with Green, was sentenced to one year in prison. That user also rented botnets on Darkode.