In 2013, a 23-year-old named Austin Thompson launched a series of DDoS attacks that took down several online gaming providers including Sony’s PlayStation Network, Microsoft’s Xbox, EA, Riot Games, Nintendo, Quake Live, League of Legends servers, and many more.
Thomspon was most active between December 2013 and January 2014. During this time he appeared online under the alias ‘DerpTrolling.’ He used his @DerpTrolling Twitter account to announce attacks, as well as take requests for services his followers wanted him to take down.
Seeing the success and media coverage that Thompson’s work received, other hacktivist groups followed suit and began launching DDoS attacks against gaming providers, specifically over the Christmas period. These hackers would later justify their DDoS attacks with absurd excuses such as ‘to spoil everyone’s holiday,’ ‘to make people spend time with their families’ and ‘for the lulz.’
This annual trend of Christmas time DDoS attacks caught the attention of the FBI. Working together with the UK and Netherlands law enforcement agencies, they successfully seized the domains of 15 DDoS for hire services, putting an end to the Christmas time DDoS attacks.
In August 2014, after being doxed by other Twitter users, Thompson disappeared for 18 months and was assumed to have been arrested. He returned to Twitter for one day in January 2018 before his account was deactivated. In November 2018, Thompson pleaded guilty in a San Diego Federal court to knowingly causing damage to third-party computers.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Southern California, Thompson caused a total of $95,000 dollars worth of damage whilst he was active. For his crimes, Thomspon has been sentenced to 27 months in prison, commencing on the 27th of August 2019.
The US attorney, Adam Braverman has said that “denial of service attacks cost businesses millions of dollars annually.” he continues that “we are committed to finding and prosecuting those who disrupt business, often for nothing more than ego.”
Although Thompson has only been sentenced to 27 months in prison, he was facing a potential 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000. DDoS attacks are taken very seriously and carry heavy punishments due to the disruption that they cause.
Don’t leave your business at risk of a DDoS attack. To find out more about Hyve’s DDoS services, get in touch with our sales team today on 0800 612 2524.