The Case of the Hired Hacker
A businessman hired a sixteen-year-old New Jersey hacker to disable the Web sites of his competitors. The hacker launched a program that placed bots on 2,000 unprotected computers that he then used for a distributed denial of service attack.
The attacks were repeated over five months and damaged not only the target companies, but also their Internet service providers (ISP) and, in a cascading effect, hundreds of other unrelated companies that used the same ISP. The FBI estimated that the attacks cost all the companies over $2 million, and arrested both hacker and businessman in March 2005.
“This is an example of a growing trend: that is, denial of service attacks being used for either extortionate reasons, or to disable or impair the competition. It’s a growing problem and one that we take very seriously, and one that we think has a very destructive impact and potential.”
—FBI Supervisory Special Agent Frank Harrill