Man pleads guilty for serving white hat with DoS, swearbot, sex toys

Electronic Tribulation Army has anger management problems

Oklahoma man Benjamin Earnest Nichols faces up to 10 years jail in a United States federal prison and a US$250,000 fine after pleading guilty to launching a distributed denial of service attack against security consultancy mccrewsecurity.com.

Nichols, 37, pled guilty to one count of causing the transmission of a program or code to a protected computer launched around March 2010.

Prosecutors estimated the attacks inflicted damages of between US$5000 and $US6500 .

Nichols, alleged to be part of the hacking group calling itself the Electronic Tribulation Army (ETA), played a part in launching the distributed denial of service attack after a post on mcgrawsecurity.com detailing the guilty plea entered by alleged former group leader Jesse McGraw.

The consultancy had assisted the FBI with an investigation to McGraw's hack of a medical centre for which he was sentenced to nine years prison in March 2011. The offending post said that first conviction may "put other script-kiddie type hackers on notice that they can be tracked down and prosecuted".

Script kiddie is a disparaging term for low skilled hackers.

A US Department of Justice statement says "... Nichols got angry at RWM for posting what he considered to be false and disparaging remarks on the blog [and] then used various means to harass and mock RWM, including setting up a derogatory website for RWM, posting disparaging photo-shopped photographs of RWM, and ordering sex toys to be sent to RWM’s home."

The Department did not reveal the identity of RWM.

"In addition, Nichols also created and repurposed a bot that used computer code to respond to certain keywords by transmitting random insults and profanity to RWM’s internet relay chat channel."

A sentencing date was not set. ®

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