Zachary Shames, 21, of Great Falls, pleaded guilty Jan. 13 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. Court records show that Shames sold his keylogger software to over 3,000 users who, in turn, used it to infect over 16,000 victim computers that are known so far.
According to authorities, Shames developed the initial versions of his keylogger while attending Langley High School, and continued to modify and market the illegal product from his college dorm room at James Madison University.
On his LinkedIn bio page, Shames is also listed as having been a “College Technical Intern” for Northrop Grumman Corporation in McLean from May 2015 – August 2016 where he says he worked on the FirstNet team and was responsible for coding front-end websites, back-end servers and managing a database there.
Shames faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and will be sentenced on June 16.