Hacker cops to $70k botnet rampage
'I'll take 2 years in the clink'
A 21-year-old American has admitted to using a potent botarmy to wage a relentless campaign of destruction on two volunteer websites as part of a scheme to punish the operators for behavior he thought was unfair.
Gregory C. King, of Fairfield, California, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of transmitting code to cause damage to protected computers. King, an irascible hacker who used monikers including Silenz, SilenZ420 and Gregk707, faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $500,000, although his plea agreement calls for him to spend two years behind bars and pay restitution to his victims. Sentencing is scheduled for September 3.
King's distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on CastleCops and KillaNet Technologies were so potent that the sites and their service providers sustained as much as $70,000 in damage, according to court documents. Unlike more sophisticated hackers who take pains to cover their tracks, King frequently taunted his victims in online chat rooms even as he flooded their servers with as much as 1 gigabyte of data per second.
"My good friend's ISP shut him over this fucking post," a user by the name of SilenZ wrote in a CastleCops forum in February 2007, just minutes before a DDoS attack brought it down. "I have the right to be angry."
Volunteers at CastleCops, a watchdog computer-security website, spent the next five days trying to deflect the assault.
King's DDoS activities date back to at least 2003, according to KillaNet owner Tami Quiring, when a 17-year-old King perpetrated an especially nasty electronic assault known as a smurf attack on her site. King struck at Quiring again in December of 2004, shortly after FBI agents had raided King's home.
King's arsenal included a 7,000-node botnet that he misappropriated from another bot herder, according to court documents. At times, he used his father's DSL connection to unleash the attacks. Other times, he launched them from a near-by Best Buy store or a McDonald's restaurant.
Upon learning of Tuesday's guilty plea, Quiring said she had "mixed feelings."
"We're glad that it's over but two years [sentence] after four years of hell, and the amount of money that his actions cost us, is somehow not equaling up," she said.
Quiring recounted the years she and her coworkers spent trying to insulate themselves from King's rampage. They tried befriending him, and when that didn't work, they spent countless hours working with law enforcement agencies to track him down and charge him.
Still, she said she feels something approaching satisfaction to know that her ordeal with King is over.
"We told Greg a long time ago that he was taking on the wrong people and I guess we proved it," she said. ®
Sounds like the same bullshit which was pulled against Gary McKinnon
"Protectors of the guilty"
See, having read through the comments posted here (numerous times, just in case I may have somehow missed the reasoning), I am noticing a common theme to those who choose to state that he is undeserving of his punishment.
It's called ignorance. As in ignorance to the case. You are only receiving a part of the story (mind you, given the fact that the case is still before the Federal Judge, it's about all of the case you are entitled to at this time), and are basing your judgements and comments on that information. Which is fine... except that it's also not completely accurate.
As has been posted, this is not the first time that Greg has had run-ins with the law. If you dig deep enough in Google, you will find his name popping up on the Fairfield police website for another incident that took place "recently" (meaning, while he was still being investigated for the DDoS attacks). If you check some other sites that have been following his case (not gonna name them... got to make you all work a bit *wink*), you'll also discover that he didn't exactly listen to the suggestions given to him by the Feds when he was initially raided and later arrested.
Greg knew full well what was going to be coming down on him. I know this, because I told him myself on numerous occasions. He was given many chances to just go away quietly and disappear. He chose instead to become drunk on the power of his botnet and the ability to type in a few small commands and make any website that irked him disappear instead... or so he thought (we got rather well at combating his syn and icmp floods).
When someone... irregardless of their age, comes up to you and brags to you about what they just got charged for by the FBI, laughs about the potential sentence that is hanging over their head, and then proceeds to flood your servers with hundreds and hundreds of mb/s second for days on end... it's obvious that they are ready for a wake-up call. As Tami mentioned, the sound of the door closing behind him will be just the wake-up call he was asking for.
@Latest AC: With technology advancing as quickly as it is, my guess is that in 2 years, the knowledge that Greg had with botnets and website attacks will be massively outdated. Likely with the information that is coming about, the means of combating them will also have taken great advancements (same theory as virus/antivirus). Besides, who knows... maybe when he gets out, he'll be able to take the Mitnick path and sell his story and go on tours.
@Chris: his lawyer did everything he could to protect Greg and keep him out among the public. Unfortunately for Greg, it wasn't enough. I'm sure it will come out in time that by the very definition of "Protected Computer" (as per 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(2)(A)), the charges were appropriate.
Its real difficult to reply in defense to some of these comments without releasing sealed information in regards to the case... so those of you who think you know it all about this and are quick to lash out at those in support for the charges and the admittal of his guilt (when you go before a judge and enter a guilty plea, that means that you know there is no amount of evidence in the World that can prove you're innocent), just remember that there is a LOT going on behind the case that you are clueless about. Instead of saying it's all wrong, just wait until September 4th and see what happens then.
Protected computer my arsenal...
(2) the term “protected computer” means a computer—
(A) exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the United States Government, or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, used by or for a financial institution or the United States Government and the conduct constituting the offense affects that use by or for the financial institution or the Government; or
(B) which is used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States;
Not sure either qualifies... so should get a better lawyer...