If you've ever had your computer infected by malicious software, you know how vexing it can be. But imagine that frustration multiplied by 100,000.
That's what a Brazilian man is accused of trying to inflict on unsuspecting computer users. The man has been indicted on a charge that he plotted to sell a "botnet" -- in other words, a remote-controlled network of more than 100,000 virus-infected computers to a would-be spammer.
Federal prosecutors in Washington and New Orleans say a 19-year-old in The Netherlands wrote a program to let an operator direct actions of computers around the world without their owners' knowledge.
The federal indictment charges Leni de Abreu Neto of Brazil with a charge of conspiracy to damage computers worldwide. If convicted, he could get up to five years in prison and be fined for the total of his own gains or his victims' losses.