Christmas DDoS Attack Hackers Face Imprisonment


A 23 year old Utah man has been sentenced to 27 months (2 years and 3 months) of imprisonment this week for conducting a series of DDoS Attacks that took down the online gaming service providers like Sony’s PlayStation Network, Valve’s Steam, Microsoft’s Xbox, EA, Riot Games, Nintendo, Quake Live, DOTA2, and League of Legends servers, along with many others.

The accused has been identified as Austin Thompson but known online as DerpTrolling is the first hacker who had started a trend among other hackers and hacking crews – namely of launching the DDoS Attacks against gaming providers during the Christmas, which they later justified using ridiculous reasons such as “to spoil everyone’s holiday,” “to make people spend time with their families,” or “for the lulz.” The hacker’s DDoS Attacks were extremely successful at that point of time, in 2013, in a time when most companies did not use strong DDoS Attack mitigation services. At the same time, Thompson used the @DerpTrolling Twitter account to announce DDoS Attacks and take requests for services users wanted him to take down.

It has been found that while the hacker had been active since 2011, his most famous stretch of activity was somewhere between December 2013 and January 2014, when most of his high profile DDoS Attacks took place before the account went inactive. The darknet DDoS Attacks caused many online gaming services to go offline in no time, and after seeing DerpTrolling success and the media coverage the hacker got, many other hacking crews followed suit in the subsequent years.

Hacker groups such as the Lizard Squad have launched DDoS Attacks on Christmas in 2014. A similar hacker group called Phantom Squad did the same in 2015, a year later. R.I.U. Star Patrol also did the same thing in 2016 and several lone hackers last year, in 2017, but with less success than the previous years. This annual trend of DDoS Attacks on gaming services over the Christmas holiday prompted the FBI to act accordingly. The agency, together with the law enforcement from the UK and the Netherlands seized the domains of 15 DDoS-for-hire services last year, in December, in an attempt to prevent any DDoS Attacks that eventually proved successful.

Years following the DDoS Attacks, Thompson was arrested in the summer of 2018 and he pleaded guilty a few months later, in November. According to Thompson’s sentencing document obtained by sources, the hacker must also pay $95,000 in restitution to Daybreak Games, (formerly Sony Online Entertainment), and is scheduled to start his 27 months prison sentence on August 27 this year.

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