The Department of Justice has obtained a guilty plea from the person who carried out a DDoS attack that took down nearly half of the internet and likely caused tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. On December 9 of this year, we learned that that person was a teenager at the time.
On October 21, 2016, three different DDoS attacks were carried out that took down large swathes of the internet and disrupted other parts throughout the day. A Distributed Denial of Service attack is, in essence, carried out by having thousands or millions of machines try to access a website all at the same time. The website becomes overwhelmed and can’t be accessed by legitimate users.
The 2016 attack ended up affecting a company named Dyn, which provides DNS services to some of the world’s biggest websites. As a result of the attacks, Dyn itself was taken down, which meant that websites like Twitter, Amazon, Xbox Live, PSN, PayPal, and Reddit were all affected. The United States Justice Department issued a statement on a guilty plea that was obtained on December 9.
As it turns out, the person who carried out the attack was a minor at the time and did so with the help of others who remain unnamed. Apparently, they were attempting to get even with PlayStation Network and certain gamers who had wronged them. The plot took nearly a year to plan and carry out, spanning from sometime in 2015 to November 2016—culminating in the attempt to take PlayStation Network offline.
The attack used malware that turned unprotected devices into weapons that were used to take down Dyn. Everything from printers to baby monitors was used as a bot to flood servers with requests to enter or get information from, PlayStation Network or Sony. Sony claims to have lost $2.7 million in revenue as a result of the time during which the network was offline. At the time, the hacker group Anonymous and several others claimed responsibility for the attack but had no evidence to show that they were, in fact, responsible.
The individual’s sentencing is scheduled to take place on January 7, 2021, at a district court in New Hampshire. Because the person was a minor at the time of the crime, no name has been released
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