Austin Thompson, a 23-year-old man from Utah has pleaded guilty to conducting DDoS attacks on gaming giants between 2013 to 2014. Among his targets were companies like EA Origin, Sony’s PlayStation Network, Steam, Microsoft’s Xbox, Battle.net, and League of Legends, etc.
Thompson who used the Twitter handle of DerpTrolling to announce attacks on his victims pleaded guilty this week in federal court in San Diego. He also used the Twitter account to promote an “Ion Cannon” DDoS tool called the “Gaben Laser Beam,” named after Valve founder Gabe Newell.
According to a press release issued by Justice Department (DoJ), in total, DDoS attacks carried out by Thompson caused at least $95,000 in damages to the victims. However, he is facing maximum $250,000 in fine with 10 years prison time. His sentencing is set before United States District Judge Jeffrey Miller on March 1, 2019.
“Denial-of-service attacks cost businesses millions of dollars annually,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “We are committed to finding and prosecuting those who disrupt businesses, often for nothing more than ego.”
Here are a series of tweets from @DerpTrolling boosting about DDoS attacks on gaming platforms:
Our first target: League of Legends back-end servers #offline
— Derp Trolling (@DerpTrolling) August 14, 2014
Our boys are only targeting EU PS2 servers at the moment. Sony's server status is not automatic which is why they all say "UP". such bad.
— Derp Trolling (@DerpTrolling) January 1, 2014
Just deleted a majority of their database at http://t.co/5ZSSGAdV4K – they should be offline for a bit.
— Derp Trolling (@DerpTrolling) August 2, 2014
Gaben Laser Beam™, has been upgraded. Hello FBI?
— Derp Trolling (@DerpTrolling) July 27, 2014
DoS attack is a denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) in which the attacker seeks to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connected to the Internet.
On the other hand, in a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) the incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from many different sources. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.
It is unclear if Thompson conducted these DDoS attacks in an individual capacity or there were other culprits involved. Nevertheless, there were several other groups including Lizard Squad and PoddleCorp who targeted Blizzard, League of Legends, Pokemon Go, Grand Theft Auto, PlayStation Network, Xbox, and EA with large-scale cyber attacks and forced their servers to go offline for hours.