Man jailed for 2 years after DDOSing telescope forum that banned him

Why not have non-violent vandalism, burglary and auto theft also be just a fine? Why should theft and damage committed by remote control be treated differently than than when done in person?

I do think our justice system needs reform and we jail too many people, especially people of color, but I also think it needs some consistency and we aren’t jailing nearly enough white collar criminals (especially executive who commit multi-million dollar frauds).

If you are president and call for Russia to hack your opponent’s email, it is all good. You can even claim to never have heard of wikileaks.

But cooperate with law enforcement and this happens. This is why it never makes sense to talk to law enforcement when they suspect you of a crime.


Good. A DDoS is a coward’s tool.

Anyone can do it or have it done, but only entities with deep enough pockets can stay up in the face of one. It is the opposite of an equalizer.

Rest assured, if the CFAA or a similar law didn’t make DDoSing illegal, big corporations would use perpetual attacks as a perfectly legal way to silence independent sites critical of them.

Throw a rock at a window, you’ve broken one window. Keep throwing rocks at windows and sooner or later someone or something will stop you. You can scale this all the way up to stealing things, killing people or blowing up buildings… damages to the physical world are limited to all kinds of constraints.

Find a good enough attack that you can quickly take down a computer or steal information of value, and keep doing it as fast as the network will allow… absolutely massive amounts of damage can be done before anyone even knows what is happening.

That’s why the CFAA imposes such penalties. To try and deter people from wreaking havoc in the first place.

@bookworm1398: Yes, asking or hiring someone to commit a crime is typically a crime. Murder, theft, hacking, doesn’t matter.


The line about the DDoS attack’s sophistication is particularly “absurd,” he says. “This was not a sophisticated computer crime. And the fact that the court thought that highlights the problem with these types of cases.”

It is analogous to constantly autodialing someone’s phone. Long ago I programmed my computer to do that to a scumbag contractor’s pager. Don’t tell the FBI.

Good idea. I would add mandatory counseling and probation, though. Wouldn’t want to be too lenient.


Perhaps the problem is actually that we think of minor property crimes as being jail-worthy.


So asking someone to hack a computer is a crime? Just want to make sure I understand the charges.

Yes. Not only that, if you hire a hit man to kill someone, you can be charged with murder.

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I’d rather see something based around restitution and atonement. And yes, that would apply just as much for the sort of vandalism that could easily cost $27K to repair.

My view is that jailing someone is fining society $100K to millions, depending on the length of the sentence and the hash you make of someone’s life (after all, it’ll be us that’s supporting someone over the long term whose jail sentence destroys their future earning potential).

There had better be some massive social gain to be had to offset that sort of loss before jailing is worthwhile.

And I understand how it comes about. When my house was burglarized and family goods lost, I wanted vengeance. But the reality is that my desire to make the person who caused me the misery pay did not make social sense. That’s why I would have been the least suitable to decide sentence. I suspect the US system has let the victims of crime dictate punishment.

And while I don’t blame the victims - their pain is real, I do blame the legislators for prizing vengeance above the good of society.

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whats weird is that i’m on that forum multiple times a day (since 2011) and i don’t remember a weeklong outage. i think at some point they may have upgraded their backend infrastructure because of this DDOS and there were some days where the servers seemed slow, but again i think i would have noticed if it was really gone for a week.

Is asking someone to commit a crime a crime?

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Back at the time that law was passed, a protected computer was a major banking or corporate mainframe tied to other computers via the private networks of the day.

Now it means any mom-n-pop website that sells t-shirts on the side.

eta: Major scope creep as technology marches on.


So, if we want to put it into real-world terms, his crime was going down to where the hooligans hang out, and asking them to go vandalise the clubhouse that just blackballed him. He more or less hired thugs to go harass those who kicked him out, which actually worked for two whole days and might have gone on longer.

But his real crime was being a stupid asshole who bragged about it to the cops, who probably even played up his role and exaggerated his prowess. That lack of remorse and “what are you going to do about it” earned him getting the full book thrown at him, I guess.

Full disclosure: I work for a company that offers DDOS protection WAF, Bot Management, that sot of stuff, but these guys were not our customers. My colleagues and I are just amused at the guy shooting himself in the foot.

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I’m not a big fan of incarceration but I think the end of the bit I’ve quoted suggests a reason why some kind of consequence more than a mere fine makes sense. The fact “he could easily repay” suggests the financial penalty doesn’t provide much of a disincentive, analogous to how people in upper income brackets simply don’t care about parking tickets, because price of doing business. The fact the injured party didn’t want him imprisoned would be more relevant if they were the only relevant party, but they aren’t: a criminal prosecution is “the people vs.” not “injured party vs.”. And it’s pretty obvious that there’s harm to society at large if there’s no real disincentive for using DDoS to let off some steam.

That said, yeah, need a better option than locking people up, as a general statement and not specific to this case.

Edited to add: to continue the parking ticket analogy, he needs to be ticketed and towed.


He hired thugs to shut down a small business for two weeks, resulting in a loss of nearly $30,000. That’s basically old school racketeering, just done on a computer.


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