The hacker who almost ruined Linux website and its servers in 2011 has been arrested by Miami Police.
The US Department of Justice has said that that the person who was deemed responsible for the Linux Kernel Organization’s website (kernel.org) and also the servers of Linux Foundation in 2011, the 27-year-old Donald R. Austin, has finally been caught by the police.
The accused belongs to El Portal, Florida and is due to face court proceedings in San Francisco by the end of September.
The police have charged him for international transmission leading to damaging a secured computer system. In fact, Austin has been charged with four accusations, which include leading an extensive hacking campaign against Linux corp., which eventually led to the shutting off of the company’s servers so as to clean the system and remove the malware infection. Also, Austin has been accused of infecting the servers of Linux with Ebury Trojan, which is a malware designed specifically to target Solaris, Linux and FreeBSD. And, he has been accused of leaving trails on the Linux systems for other hackers so that they could exploit the systems. He also hacked email account of an employee at the Linux corp.
As per the court documents [PDF], the accused stole the credentials of one of the admins of the Linux servers and then used the information to infect their system with Phalanx malware. According to the prosecution, Austin wanted to access Linux builds.
Phalanx is a self-injecting kernel rootkit that has been designed for compromising the Linux 2.6 version. It is a highly sophisticated malware that can hide files, sockets and even processes and is equipped with sniffing capabilities.
How was he apprehended?
Well, the Miami police held him for a traffic offense this Thursday and when he identified himself, they instantly knew that they have caught one of the most wanted hackers.
As a result of these hacking, Linux servers remained offline for a month because the admins needed to make sure that the system was clean. However, finding the hacker wasn’t as easy as it took the law enforcement 5 long years to get to their man.
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Currently, Austin is on bail as he paid the required bail money of $50,000. He will be appearing in a court in San Francisco on 21 September. If found guilty Austin would likely get 40 years in jail along with $2m as a penalty.