German Man Threatened Gambling Websites With DDoS AttackJune 27, 2011 9:38 am
A German man who threatened online gambling websites with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks has been given a two years and 10 month prison sentence by a court in Düsseldorf.
The unamed man from Frankfurt tried to extort €2,500 ($3,700) each from six online betting sites, threatening to disrupt their operations during the 2010 Football World Cup if no payments were received.
Armed with a $65 per day Russian botnet, the blackmailer then managed to successfully extort money from three of the online betting sites, but encountered fierce resistance from three others who refused to be bribed despite their ransoms being reduced to €1,000.
In the end, however, the German hacker got his just deserts after being arrested and subsequently convicted of “computer sabotage” and “extortion.” In addition to serving jail time, the man has also been ordered to pay the companies €350,000 ($504,000) in damages.
Commenting on the court decision, Cologne based IT attorney Dominik Boecker said:
“I believe the decision to be correct. DDOSing the website of a company is a stupid idea. The criminal norm is problematic though: the request to the server is the same that occurs if [you’re using the site normally].”
DDoS Attack generally work by saturating a single system with external communication requests thus disrupting its ability to handle legitimate traffic. The practice has been used increasingly of late, by either politically motivated groups or extortionists as a quick way to make money. As online news source sophos.com explains:
“This isn’t the first time, by any means, that denial-of-service attacks have been used to blackmail online gambling websites in the run-up to a major sporting event. For instance, in 2006 a Russian gang who were said to have extorted $4 million from British bookmakers were sentenced to jail.”
Recently, however, the European Commission has introduced heavier penalties for the perpetrators of such cybercrimes and now have more stringent laws in place to deal with the increasing problem