Cyber Crime

Man who carried out DDoS attacks against PSN & Xbox jailed

The cybercriminal was also involved in several other cybercrimes including swatting and deleting databases of targeted websites.

Austin Thompson, a DDoS attacker going by the online handle of Derp Trolling has been sentenced to 2.25 years (27 months) in prison for conducting DDoS attacks on gaming giants back in 2013 to 2014.

In November last year, it was reposted that Thompson pleaded guilty to carrying out large scale DDoS attacks on companies including Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN), Microsoft’s Xbox, EA Origin,  Steam, League of Legends, Battle.net and others.

In a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) the incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from many different sources. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.

According to a press release from U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, the defendant will also pay $95,000 in restitution to one of the victims – Daybreak Games, formerly Sony Online Entertainment.

It is worth mentioning that DDoS attacks carried out by Thompson were powerful enough to disrupt online gaming services after forcing their server to go offline for hours. Upon a successful DDoS attack, he would also tweet about his “achievement” by sharing screenshots of server downtime of the targeted company.

“Thompson typically used the Twitter account @DerpTrolling to announce that an attack was imminent and then posted “scalps” (screenshots or other photos showing that victims’ servers had been taken down) after the attack,” the press release said.

Furthermore, he used his Twitter account to promote an “Ion Cannon” DDoS tool called the “Gaben Laser Beam,” named after Valve founder Gabe Newell.

Thompson’s sentence will begin from August 23rd, he is currently free on bond.

This, however, is not the first time when a cybercriminal has been jailed for DDoSing gaming giants. Last year, 38-year-old Calin Mateias from Bucharest, Romania was sentenced to one year in US federal prison for 2010 DDoS attacks against Blizzard’s World of Warcraft‘s European servers.

In December 2016, two men, Zachary Buchta, 20 (founding member of the group) from Maryland, United States and Bradley Jan Willem van Rooy, 19 from the Netherlands were arrested and charged by the United States Department of Justice with credit card theft, compromising protected computers and operating DDoS services using a DDoS tool “LizardStresser.”

In 2017, Buchta was kicked to prison for two and a half year after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit damage to computers. Buchta also agreed to pay a sum of $350,000 to two online gambling companies who were affected by attacks planned and carried by Lizard Squad.

Tip: If you are running a business; do not forget to calculate the cost and probability of a DDoS attack on your business with this DDoS Downtime Cost Calculator.

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