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CastleCops nemesis gets two-year sentence

Irascible hacker's $70k botnet rampage

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An American hacker has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for waging potent attacks that took down two volunteer websites for days at a time.

Gregory C. King of Fairfield, California, was also ordered to pay more than $69,000 in restitution for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on CastleCops and KillaNet Technologies. In June, King admitted he used a bot army to wage a relentless campaign of destruction on the sites in a scheme to punish the operators for behavior he thought was unfair. The attacks were so fierce that his victims sustained as much as $70,000 in damage, according to court documents.

"My good friend's ISP shut him over this fucking post," King wrote in a CastleCops forum in February 2007, just minutes before a DDoS attack brought the down website, which is dedicated to fighting malware, phishing and other types of cyber crime. "I have the right to be angry." Volunteers at CastleCops spent the next five days trying to deflect the assault.

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.

King, who often went by the hacking monikers Silenz, SilenZ420 and Gregk707, had faced a maximum of 20 years and a fine of $500,000. Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a reduced sentenced in exchange for King pleading guilty to two felony counts of transmitting code to cause damage to protected computers.

When agents arrived at King's residence to arrest him in October 2007, the miscreant snuck out the back door carrying a laptop computer and deposited it in the bushes in his backyard. Agents later retrieved it after obtained a warrant to search the backyard. ®

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