According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, two members of hacking groups Lizard Squad and PoodleCorp were charged yesterday with “conspiring to cause damage to protected computers”. The two groups have claimed responsibility for attacks on numerous services and sites including PSN and Xbox Live over a period of months and years.
ZACHARY BUCHTA, 19, of Fallston, Maryland and BRADLEY JAN WILLEM VAN ROOY, 19, of Leiden, the Netherlands have been charged with conspiring to cause damage to protected computers. The charges are the result of an international investigation into the computer hacking groups “Lizard Squad” and “PoodleCorp,” activities which they often boast about on Twitter.
— PoodleCorp (@PoodleCorp) September 18, 2016
Buchta and van Rooy allegedly launched destructive cyber attacks around the world with others, and trafficked payment accounts that had been stolen from unsuspecting victims in Illinois and elsewhere according to the D.A’s office. Thousands are thought to have been affected by the account thefts.
— Lizard Squad (@LizardLands) April 14, 2016
A federal court in Chicago also ordered the seizure of four domain names associated with the alleged conspiracy. The websites, that the genius’ discreetly named shenron.lizardsquad.org, lizardsquad.org, stresser.poodlecorp.org, and poodlecorp.org are no longer online.
The U.S authorities turned their attention to Lizard Squad during an investigation into phonebomber.net, a website that enabled paying customers to select victims to receive repeated harassing phone calls from spoofed numbers. one victim received threatening calls every hour for thirty days. The victim would be played a recorded message saying “When you walk the f*****g streets, Motherf****r, you better look over your f*****g back because I don’t flying f**k if we have to burn your f*****g house down, if we have to f*****g track your goddamned family down, we will f**k your shit up motherf**k.
After the launch of phonebomber.net, Buchta, van Rooy along with other members of Lizard Squad began denial-of-service attacks against various victims, including gaming, entertainment and media companies. The groups apparently relied on a massive network of compromised computers and devices.
It seems a source involved in computer security and who is in contact with people involved in hacking provided information to the F.B.I. The source paid for the DDoS service and arranged an attack against a consenting party who logged the attack traffic. In that case around 6000 unique IP addresses attacked the target IP address .
Whilst this case is unlikely to provide any long term solution to the problem of DDoS attacks it is comforting to know that the authorities are treating it seriously and seeking out those responsible. It’s important to remember that at the moment these are allegations and the burden of proof lays with the prosecution but if convicted the conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.