Florida man pleads guilty in DDOS attack

A 32-year-old Florida man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to hacking into computer systems at two major universities as part of plot to launch a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack on computer servers managed by Akamai Technologies, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.

John Bombard, 32, of Seminole, Fla., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Patti Saris in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts to two counts of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization.

Bombard will be sentenced on March 7. He faces up to two years in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, and a $100,000 fine.

Officials from Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai could not be reached for comment. The company distributes online content and business processes over a network of computer servers.

According to a statement by U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, on June 14, 2004, Bombard intentionally accessed, without permission, computer systems at Columbia University in New York and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. On those computer systems was a program that had been placed on the computers without permission that enabled Bombard to communicate with a network of computers he controlled in various locations on the Internet.

Bombard compromised those computer systems using a variant of the Gaobot worm and then allegedly directed communication from the university computer systems to the bot network from a computer located on his domain, "f0r.org," Sullivan said previously.

On several occasions, Bombard instructed his network of computers to flood computers or networks he targeted with so many requests for attention at the same time, that they were overwhelmed and became disabled trying to respond. One attack cost Akamai more than $41,000 in response costs and lost revenue.

Akamai suffered a significant increase in Web traffic to many of its domain name servers that was caused by the DDOS against Akamai's global traffic management servers, which served many customers, Sullivan said previously. Access to the Web sites of those customers was slowed or rendered inaccessible for a period of time, according to the statement.

This story, "Florida man pleads guilty in DDOS attack" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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