College Student Pleads Guilty To Developing Malicious Software
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Zachary Shames, 21, of Great Falls, pleaded guilty today to charges of aiding and abetting computer intrusions.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Shames developed malicious software, known as a keylogger, that allowed users to steal sensitive information, such a passwords and banking credentials, from a victim’s computer. Shames sold his keylogger to over 3,000 users who, in turn, used it to infect over 16,000 victim computers. Shames developed the initial versions of his keylogger while attending high school in Northern Virginia, and continued to modify and market the illegal product from his college dorm room.
Shames faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and will be sentenced on June 16. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer and Senior Counsel Ryan K. Dickey of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-CR-289.