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Mafiaboy must be jailed, says social worker
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 01:39:44 -0500 (CDT)
By MICHELLE MACAFEE
The Canadian Press
Tuesday, June 19, 2001
MONTREAL (CP) -- A 16-year-old computer hacker who crippled major
Internet sites such as CNN and Yahoo should spend at least five months
in custody because he shows no remorse for his crimes, a youth court
And because the teen, known as Mafiaboy, hasn't acknowledged the
seriousness of the attacks in February 2000 there is a "moderate risk"
he'll re-offend, Hanny Chung, a court-appointed social worker,
testified during a sentencing hearing.
"Not only is he not taking full responsibility for what he did, he's
still trying to justify that what he did was right," Chung told Judge
"Unless a person is acknowledging what he did was wrong, how is he
going to make amends and correct his thinking? We haven't see that so
The Montreal teen, who can't be identified because of his age, pleaded
guilty in January to 58 charges related to attacks on CNN, Yahoo,
Dell, Amazon and EBay and security breaches of other sites in Canada,
the United States, Denmark and Korea.
The incidents made international headlines and led to a sweeping
investigation that ended in Montreal with the teen's arrest in April
In recommending a five-month sentence in a youth detention centre,
Chung noted the boy hadn't had enough supervision at home and needed
more discipline in his life.
The boy's parents are divorced and have since remarried. He lived with
his father at the time of the attacks and continues to do so, but is
prohibited from using computers while out on bail.
Chung said the boy would have a more structured environment in
custody, could still get schooling and would have access to programs
to improve his "moral reasoning."
The maximum sentence the boy could receive is two years in a youth
The most serious charges relate to denial-of-service attacks against
the Web sites belonging to the five companies. The sites were
bombarded with thousands of simultaneous messages, which prevented
legitimate users from accessing them.
Fifty-two of the charges relate to Mafiaboy's illegal use of computers
located at various universities, including the University of
California at Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts.
Following a series of interviews with the boy and his family, Chung
concluded he does not believe the boy's assertion that he was only
trying to test the security of the computer systems.
The teen's defence also has been that he was capable of doing much
more damage, but chose not to.
But Chung said if the boy's intentions had truly been to protect
society and help corporations, the attacks would not have been several
hours long and spread over five days.
He also noted this was not the first time hacking at the family's home
had attracted the attention of the authorities.
The boy's father told Chung the FBI contacted him in late 1999 to
advise that someone was using their home computer for illegal
activities. The father responded by disconnecting the Internet
service, only to discover later that the boy and his older brother had
continued using someone else's Internet account.
During his questioning of Chung, defence lawyer Yan Romanowski pressed
the social worker to define what he would consider to be proper
remorse given there was no violent crime committed and no one was
"What was he supposed to do, cry?" asked Romanowski.
"He has pleaded guilty, which seems to acknowledge that what he did
Romanowski also singled out segments of Chung's 16-page report, which
noted the teen "is not delinquency oriented" and "possesses a healthy
In explaining his fascination for computers and the Internet, the teen
told Chung he believed he was born to use computers and choose Yahoo's
site as his first target because he considered it to be the God of all
If the court decides to further restrict his computer access as
punishment, he told Chung he would consider moving to Italy because
Italian-based Internet sites are less secure and the laws are not as
Neither Romanowski or Crown prosecutor Louis Miville-Deschenes have
made their sentencing recommendations.
One of the major factors will be the extent of the damage caused by
the teen's actions.
While estimates released immediately after the attacks hit $1.7
billion US, Miville-Deschenes said the figure is closer to about $7.5
million. Romanowski contests that value.
The hearing is scheduled to resume August 28.
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- Mafiaboy must be jailed, says social worker InfoSec News (Jun 20)