The Department of Justice yesterday announced that Joshua Schichtel, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for selling access to botnets.

Schichtel pleaded guilty on August 17, 2011 to one count of attempting to cause damage to multiple computers without authorization by the transmission of programs, codes or commands, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

"Schichtel sold access to botnets, which are networks of computers that have been infected with a malicious computer program that allows unauthorized users to control infected computers, according to court documents," writes ITworld's Grant Gross. "Customers who wanted to infect computers with malware would contact Schichtel and pay him to install malware on the computers that comprised those botnets, the DOJ said."

"Schichtel admitted to having infected 72,000 computers in consideration of a $1,500 payment from one customer," writes Forbes' Bill Singer.

"Schichtel was also named in a 2004 complaint in which he and four other defendants were charged with conspiring to use thousands of infected computers to launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks against e-commerce websites," notes Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin. "The charges against Schichtel and several of his alleged conspirators were dismissed because the government’s deadline to obtain an indictment passed, O’Reilly reported at the time."

"Several botnet creators and hackers have been captured or sentenced in the past year, including the notorious Bredolab virus creator, who was credited with infecting 30 million computers worldwide, and the crew of LulzSec hackers that allegedly broke into corporate networks, stole data, and defaced Web sites," writes CNET News' Dara Kerr.