The three men who created the rather nasty Mirai botnet, which was used to knock out Twitter, Reddit, Netflix and other major website last year, have pleaded guilty.

Paras Jha, 21, and Josiah White, 20, admitted to writing the source code for Mirai, which allowed the pair to take over hundreds of thousands of computers as well as devices connected to the Internet Of Things (IoT), such as routers and security cameras.

A third man, Dalton Norman, 21, admitted to helping the two in a Mirai-related click fraud scheme. The three now face fines of around $250 000 and up to five years in prison.

The Mirai botnet was a pretty hard story to miss last year. It was the source of some genuine panic when it was utilised in an attack on the DNS company Dyn, one of the internet’s backbones. This in turn resulted in major websites being affected, including Reddit, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon and Pintrest among them.

While the FBI has revealed to Wired that Jha, White and Norman weren’t directly responsible for the attack on Dyn, the Mirai source code enabled others to cause havoc online – a problem that was magnified once the source code was made public.

Interestingly, according to that report in Wired, the trio didn’t originally create Mirai with the intention of knocking out vast swathes of the web. Rather, they wanted to use it to attack servers for the game Minecraft, in order to gain a competitive edge while playing.