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The 16-year-old Canadian hacker known only as Mafiaboy yesterday coughed to bringing down 50 big-name Web sites.

The servers hosting Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and many other high-profile sites were sent crashing early last year through massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

By April, the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had tracked the attacker down to Quebec. The teenager goes by the hacker alias Mafiaboy. Under Canadian Law his real name cannot be made public. He was arrested on 15 April 2000, charged four days later then released on bail.

Yesterday, in a Montreal courtroom, Mafiaboy pleaded guilty to 50 counts of "mischief to data". Two counts, against CNN.com, were cited in last year's bail-setting trail. Sixty-six further counts were added to the list at a court hearing last August. However, ten of them, against a single site, @Law, were later dropped.

Mafiaboy is expected to be sentenced on 17 April. He faces up to two years in gaol. ®

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