Hacker sentenced to prison for hijacking thousands of computers

Prosecutors said Joshua Schichtel, 30, of Phoenix, infected about 72,000 computers with viruses. The viruses allowed the controller to hijack the infected computers and use them to spread spam or attack websites.

A network of infected computers is known as a "botnet" and has become a favorite weapon of hacker activist groups like Anonymous, which use them to overwhelm the servers of government and industry websites.

Schichtel plead guilty to selling access to a botnet for $1,500.