[ISN] Witnesses: Teen hacker intended to disable Internet sites

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Jun 13 2001 - 23:25:20 PDT

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    MONTREAL (June 13, 2001 09:48 p.m. EDT) - Witnesses told a sentencing
    hearing Wednesday that a 16-year-old computer hacker illegally used
    software to cripple major Internet sites last year, including CNN and
    The youth, known by the online nickname Mafiaboy, ignored a warning on
    the software that its use on the public Internet was illegal and could
    lead to prosecution, two witnesses said. Their testimony responded to
    the defense argument that Mafiaboy only intended to test the security
    of the sites.
    "The only test that can be run this way is: 'How fast can I take them
    down and how long can I keep them down?'" said Alan Paller, an
    Internet security expert from Bethesda, Md.
    Mafiaboy, who cannot be identified by name under Canadian law, pleaded
    guilty in January to 56 charges related to the attacks and security
    breaches of other sites at colleges such as Berkeley and the
    University of Massachusetts.
    Five companies' Web sites were bombarded with thousands of
    simultaneous messages, preventing users from gaining access. The
    February 2000 attacks raised concern worldwide about the vulnerability
    of major Web sites as dependence on the Internet increases.
    Mafiaboy, who was 14 at the time, could receive up to two years in
    juvenile detention. At Wednesday's hearing, he wore a blue dress shirt
    outside baggy cotton pants, and scribbled notes on a legal pad.
    The attacks lasted almost 16 hours over five days, according to
    testimony from Cpl. Marc Gosselin of the Royal Canadian Mounted
    Police. He said the longest attack lasted more than five hours.
    Other company Web sites attacked were Dell Computer Corp., Amazon.com
    and eBay. 
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