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Charges dropped against 'DDoS Mafia'

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US prosecutors have dropped criminal complaints against four of five men accused of offering a denial of service attack for hire. Paul Ashley, the network administrator of CIT/FooNet, a web and IRC hosting company, and three alleged accomplices, Jonathan David Hall, Joshua James Schichtel, and Richard Roby were accused of organising attacks against the websites of rivals of Massachusetts businessman Jay Echouafni.

Last month, charges against the group were dismissed at the request of prosecutors the O'Reilly Network reports. But an investigation remains open and charges could still be brought. "This just allows us to talk to defence attorneys and negotiate things before having to bring an indictment against a particular individual," prosecution lawyer Arif Alikhan told the O'Reilly Network.

Charges against a fifth suspect in the case, Lee Graham Walker, a British man based in the UK, remain outstanding. Echouafni, former head of Orbit Communication, an online satellite TV retailer, was indicted separately last summer by a grand jury on five charges of aiding and abetting computer intrusion and conspiracy. He fled bail to become a fugitive from justice. His alleged role as a DDoS kingpin has earned him a spot of the FBI's most wanted list. ®

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