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Witnesses: Teen hacker intended to disable Internet sites
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 01:25:20 -0500 (CDT)


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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