LA Hacker to Plead Guilty to 'Zombie' Schemes

A computer security consultant accused of installing malicious software to create an army of "zombie" computers so he could steal identities and money will plead guilty to four federal charges in L.A.

John Schiefer agreed yesterday to plead guilty to accessing as many as 250,000 protected computers to conduct fraud. The U.S. Attorney's office says he will also plead guilty to disclosing illegally intercepted electronic communications, wire fraud and bank fraud.

Schiefer is expected to enter the plea next month. He could face up to 60 years in federal prison and a $l.75 million fine.

Prosecutors say people hired Schiefer to fix their computers. Instead they say he and his associates installed a computer code that gave them remote access to computers without the owners' knowledge.

Prosecutors say Schiefer culled user names, passwords for the PayPal online payment service, and other account information that he used to make unauthorized purchases and passed on to others.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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