January 25, 2022

News

News Network

Individual Pleads Guilty to Participating in Internet-of-Things Cyberattack in 2016

8 min read
<div>An individual, formerly a juvenile, pleaded guilty to committing acts of federal juvenile delinquency in relation to a cyberattack that caused massive disruption to the Internet in October 2016.</div>

An individual, formerly a juvenile, pleaded guilty to committing acts of federal juvenile delinquency in relation to a cyberattack that caused massive disruption to the Internet in October 2016.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray of the District of New Hampshire, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the FBI’s Boston Division made the announcement.

According to the plea agreement, the individual conspired to commit computer fraud and abuse by operating a botnet and by intentionally damaging a computer.  Because the individual was a juvenile at the time of the commission of the offense, the individual’s identity is being withheld pursuant to the Juvenile Delinquency Act, see 18 U.S.C. § 5031, et seq.  The guilty plea took place in a closed proceeding before Chief Judge Landya B. McCafferty in the District of New Hampshire.  Judge McCafferty scheduled the individual’s sentencing for Jan. 7, 2021.

According to unsealed court documents, from approximately 2015 until November of 2016, the individual conspired with others to create and operate one or more online botnets to launch cyberattacks against victim computers (specifically targeting those belonging to online gamers or gaming platforms) in order to take those computers offline altogether or otherwise significantly impair their functionality.  These attacks are often referred to as “Distributed Denial of Service” or “DDoS” attacks.

In general, a DDoS attack is a type of cyberattack in which a malicious actor directs a large volume of Internet traffic to a victim computer or network, overwhelming it and rendering it unable to function as intended.  Successful DDoS attacks can take individual computer users, websites, or entire computer networks offline altogether or otherwise slow their performance.  DDoS attacks are often conducted through the use of botnets (short for “robot networks”), that is, large numbers of compromised computers under the control of an individual or group of actors.

According to court documents, in September and October of 2016, the individual and others created a botnet, which was a variant of the so-called “Mirai” botnet, for use in launching DDoS attacks.  Mirai infected “Internet-of-Things” devices, such as Internet-connected video cameras and recorders, and turned them into bots to be used to launch DDoS attacks.

According to court documents, on Oct. 21, 2016, the individual and others used the botnet they created to launch several DDoS attacks in an effort to take the Sony PlayStation Network’s gaming platform offline for a sustained period.  The DDoS attacks impacted a domain name resolver, New Hampshire-based Dyn, Inc., which caused websites, including those pertaining to Sony, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, Tumblr, Netflix, and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), to become either completely inaccessible, or accessible only intermittently for several hours that day.  As a result of the individual’s DDoS attacks, Dyn, Sony, SNHU, and other entities and individuals suffered losses including lost advertising revenues and remediation costs. Sony estimated that its resultant losses included approximately $2.7 million in net revenue.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the National Crime Agency and Police Service of Northern Ireland.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgiana MacDonald of the District of New Hampshire.  Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen provided substantial assistance.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

More from: December 9, 2020

News Network

  • Ohio Man Indicted for Threatening a Local Reproductive Health Services Facility
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Columbus, Ohio, returned an indictment charging an Ohio man for threatening a reproductive health services facility.
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on the Occasion of a Trilateral Discussion among Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the United States
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Ambassador Reeker’s Travel to Turkey
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Financial Audit: Office of Financial Stability’s (Troubled Asset Relief Program) FY 2020 and FY 2019 Financial Statements
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO found (1) the Office of Financial Stability's (OFS) financial statements for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, and 2019, are presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; (2) OFS maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting for TARP as of September 30, 2020; and (3) no reportable noncompliance for fiscal year 2020 with provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements GAO tested. In commenting on a draft of this report, OFS stated that it is proud to receive an unmodified opinion on its financial statements and its internal control over financial reporting. OFS also stated that it is committed to maintaining the high standards and transparency reflected in these audit results. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) that authorized TARP on October 3, 2008, includes a provision for TARP, which is implemented by OFS, to annually prepare and submit to Congress and the public audited fiscal year financial statements that are prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. EESA further states that GAO shall audit TARP's financial statements annually. For more information, contact Cheryl E. Clark at (202) 512-3406 or clarkce@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Two Community Colleges to Improve Access for Students with Disabilities
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today the signing of two agreements with community colleges to remove barriers experienced by students with disabilities, including veterans.
    [Read More…]
  • Over 300 People Facing Federal Charges For Crimes Committed During Nationwide Demonstrations
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that more than 300 individuals in 29 states and Washington, D.C., have been charged for crimes committed adjacent to or under the guise of peaceful demonstrations since the end of May.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Seek to Strengthen Enforcement Against Illegal Mergers
    In Crime News
    Today, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched a joint public inquiry aimed at strengthening enforcement against illegal mergers. Recent evidence indicates that many industries across the economy are becoming more concentrated and less competitive – imperiling choice and economic gains for consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. These problems are likely to persist or worsen due to an ongoing merger surge that has more than doubled merger filings from 2020 to 2021. To address mounting concerns, the agencies are soliciting public input on ways to modernize federal merger guidelines to better detect and prevent illegal, anticompetitive deals in today’s modern markets.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Complaint Against Professional Compounding Centers of America Inc. for Reporting Fraudulent Pricing Information for Ingredients Sold to Pharmacies
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department has filed a complaint under the False Claims Act against Professional Compounding Centers of America Inc. (PCCA), a Houston-based company that sells active pharmaceutical ingredients and other products and services to compounding pharmacies.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Second Civil Contempt Claim Against CenturyLink
    In Crime News
    CenturyLink Inc., now known as Lumen Technologies Inc., has agreed to pay $275,000 to resolve a civil contempt claim by the Department of Justice arising from CenturyLink’s violations of the Amended Final Judgment that was designed to preserve competition following CenturyLink’s 2018 acquisition of Level 3 Communications Inc.
    [Read More…]
  • Dark Web Child Pornography Facilitator Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Advertise Child Pornography
    In Crime News
    A dual national of the United States and Ireland was sentenced yesterday to 324 months, or 27 years, in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for conspiracy to advertise child pornography.
    [Read More…]
  • College Closures: Many Impacted Borrowers Struggled Financially Despite Being Eligible for Loan Discharges
    In U.S GAO News
    Why This Matters When a college closes, it can derail the education of many students, leaving them with loans but no degree. Those who cannot complete their education may be eligible to have their federal student loans forgiven through a “closed school discharge” from the Department of Education, but this process has changed in recent years. We examined what happens to borrowers after colleges closed. Key Takeaways About 246,000 borrowers were enrolled at over 1,100 colleges that closed from 2010 through 2020. 43% of impacted borrowers did not complete their program before their college closed or transfer to another college—showing that closures are often the end of the road for a student's education. Over 80,000 of these borrowers had their loans forgiven through a closed school discharge. The majority of borrowers who had loans forgiven applied for it, but over 27,600 received relief through a new process that took effect in 2018 which automatically discharged loans for eligible borrowers 3 years after a closure. The automatic discharge process has provided relief to many borrowers struggling to repay their loans. More than 70% of borrowers who eventually received an automatic discharge were in default or past due on their loans. These borrowers were facing severe financial consequences (e.g., wage garnishments, reduced tax refunds, credit score drops), but may not have been aware that they were eligible for loan forgiveness. Education eliminated the automatic process in July 2020, so borrowers impacted by future closures will have to apply for forgiveness. Outcomes for Borrowers Who Attended Colleges That Closed and Their Eligibility for Loan Discharges aBorrowers refers to students who borrowed federal student loans and met certain eligibility criteria. bBorrowers are not eligible for a discharge if they are completing or have completed a comparable program at another college. Borrowers who transferred but did not complete their program are eligible for a discharge. How GAO Did This Study We analyzed Education data on federal student loan borrowers who were enrolled at colleges that closed from 2010-2020. We reviewed relevant federal laws, regulations, and agency documents. We also interviewed Education officials and subject matter experts. For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Slovakia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Two Men Charged in Multi-million Dollar Darknet Drug Distribution Conspiracy
    In Crime News
    Two Texas men were charged in a complaint unsealed today for their alleged participation in a drug distribution conspiracy perpetrated over the Darknet.
    [Read More…]
  • Russian Man Sentenced for Providing ‘Bulletproof Hosting’ for Cybercriminals
    In Crime News
    A Russian man was sentenced today for providing “bulletproof hosting” services, which were used by cybercriminals between 2009 to 2015 to distribute malware and attack financial institutions and victims throughout the United States.
    [Read More…]
  • State Department: Implementation of Grants Policies Needs Better Oversight
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of State (State) has established policies and guidance that provide a supportive environment for managing grants and cooperative agreements (grants). In addition, State provides its grants officials mandatory training on these policies and guidance, and routinely identifies and shares best practices. State's policies are based on federal regulations, reflect internal control standards, and cover topics such as risk assessment and monitoring procedures. State's policies also delineate specific internal control activities that grants officials are required to both implement and document in the grant files as a way of promoting accountability (see fig.). Key Internal Control Activities Required through a Grant's Life Cycle GAO found that inconsistent implementation of policies and guidance weakens State's assurance that grant funds are used as intended. Inadequate risk analysis . In most of the files GAO reviewed, grants officials did not fully identify, assess, and mitigate risks, as required. For example, officials conducted a risk identification process for 45 of the 61 grants that GAO reviewed. While grants officials identified risk in 28 of those 45 grants, they mitigated risks in only 11. Poor documentation . Grants officials generally did not adhere to State policies and procedures relating to documenting internal control activities. For example, 32 of the 61 files reviewed did not contain the required monitoring plan. Considerable turnover among grants officials makes documenting internal control activities particularly important. State's periodic management reviews of selected bureaus' and overseas missions' grant operations have also found that key documentation was frequently missing or incomplete and made recommendations to address the problem. However, State has not consistently followed up to ensure the implementation of these recommendations, as internal control standards require. State does not have processes for ensuring compliance with risk analysis and documentation requirements. Without the proper implementation of its internal control policies for grants management, State cannot be certain that its oversight is adequate or that it is using its limited oversight resources effectively. Why GAO Did This Study Grants are key tools that State uses to conduct foreign assistance. In fiscal year 2012, State obligated over $1.6 billion worldwide for around 14,000 grants to individuals and organizations for a variety of purposes, such as fostering cultural exchange and facilitating refugee resettlement. However, recent GAO and Inspectors General reports have identified challenges with State's management of these funds. This report examines (1) the policies and guidance that State has established to administer and oversee grants, and (2) the extent to which the implementation of those policies and guidance provides reasonable assurance that funds are being used as intended. GAO analyzed State's policies and guidance, and interviewed cognizant grants officials at 14 bureaus headquartered in Washington, D.C., and three overseas missions (Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Turkey). GAO also conducted file reviews for a sample of 61 grants totaling approximately $172 million. Selection criteria included total dollar value of grants in a country, geographic diversity, and balance among bureaus.
    [Read More…]
  • Special Representative Ambassador Jeffrey Travels to Belgium
    In Crime News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Claims Against Borough of Woodcliff Lake Involving Denial of Permit to Orthodox Jewish Group to Construct Worship Center
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the Borough of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, to resolve allegations that the Borough violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by denying zoning approval for an Orthodox Jewish congregation to construct a worship center on its property. 
    [Read More…]
  • Release of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Truck driver sentenced for smuggling fentanyl hidden in lime shipment
    In Justice News
    A 33-year-old Mexican [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.