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Brit, German indicted for stateside satellite TV attacks

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A British man and a German man have been indicted by a US federal grand jury for launching a campaign of denial of service attacks against two US-based home satellite television vendors on behalf of a rival company.

Lee Grahm Walker of Bleys Bolton and Axel Gembe of Germany were named by a California district court yesterday on charges of conspiracy and intentionally damaging a protected computer system.

Gembe is believed to be the programmer behind the infamous Agobot worm, a version of which allegedly used to conduct the attacks.

Prosecutors claim Gembe and Walker were operating under a contract from Jay Echouafni, the former CEO of Massachusetts-based Orbit Communications, to disable the websites of competing businesses, Rapid Satellite of Miami and Weaknees of Los Angeles.

Echouafni fled after being indicted in 2004. He remains a fugitive sought by the FBI and is considered armed and dangerous. A colleague who allegedly worked with Echouafni, Paul Ashley, has already served a two-year prison sentence for his role in the conspiracy.

According to the indictment, investigators obtained IRC communications between Gembe and Walker discussing changes they made to the http flood and plans to launch an attack.

They shut down Weaknees' website for two weeks in October 2003, resulting in losses ranging from $200,000 to over $1m, the FBI claims. ®

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