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Home » Hacking News » Witnesses Accuse Teen Hacker

Witnesses Accuse Teen Hacker

by ivy on June 13th, 2001 MONTREAL — A 16-year-old computer hacker illegally used software to cripple major Internet sites last year, including CNN and Yahoo!, witnesses told a sentencing hearing Wednesday.

The youth, known by the online nickname Mafiaboy, ignored a warning on the software that its use on the public Internet was illegal and could lead to prosecution, two witnesses said. Their testimony responded to the defense argument that Mafiaboy only intended to test the security of the sites.

"The only test that can be run this way is: How fast can I take them down and how long can I keep them down?'' said Alan Paller, an Internet security expert from Bethesda, Md.

Mafiaboy, who cannot be identified by name under Canadian law, pleaded guilty in January to 56 charges related to the attacks and security breaches of other sites at colleges such as Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts.

Five companies' Web sites were bombarded with thousands of simultaneous messages, preventing users from gaining access. The February 2000 attacks raised concern worldwide about the vulnerability of major Web sites as dependence on the Internet increases.

Mafiaboy, who was 14 at the time, could receive up to two years in juvenile detention. At Wednesday's hearing, he wore a blue dress shirt outside baggy cotton pants, and scribbled notes on a legal pad.

The attacks lasted almost 16 hours over five days, according to testimony from Cpl. Marc Gosselin of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He said the longest attack lasted more than five hours.

Other company Web sites attacked were Dell Computer Corp., and eBay.

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