US gov't busts alleged botmaster who attacked antiscam site

California man allegedly launched DDoS attacks from McDonald's, Best Buy

A 21-year-old California man has been arrested and charged with launching a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against CastleCops, an online forum and Web site that specializes in rooting out Internet scams.

Gregory King, of California, was arrested last Thursday and arraigned Monday on four federal counts of attacking servers that hosted CastleCops and KillaNet, a Canadian Web and graphics design community. If convicted, King faces up to 10 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine.

Last February, CastleCops, which is run by volunteers, was knocked offline by a DDoS attack King instigated, prosecutors said in the indictment filed in a federal court. King used a botnet -- a collection of previously compromised computers -- to attack CastleCops and launch numerous other sustained assaults against KillaNet beginning in July 2004.

King, who went by the online nicknames "Silenz," "sZ" and "Gregk707," reportedly amassed a botnet of about 7,000 infected machines. He used a variety of Gmail and Yahoo e-mail addresses, and even posted a photo of himself to his Yahoo profile. Also on the profile, King listed his latest news as "I learned a little bit of Visual Basic .Net in school, but I still suck at it."

"All too often, victims of DDoS attacks are left feeling let down and with a sense that the system fails," said Robin Laudanski in a message posted to CastleCops' front page. "Today, the system didn't fail." Laudanski and her husband Paul run CastleCops.

When FBI agents went to arrest King at his home last week, he fled out the back door with his laptop, which he tossed in bushes in the backyard. Agents recovered the laptop. According to arraignment papers, King launched the DDoS attacks from locations that included his parents' home, the local public library, a McDonald's restaurant and even a Best Buy store.

King was released Monday after his mother posted a US$25,000 bond. A trial date has not been set.

CastleCops has been an ongoing target for cybercriminals. Last month, for example, attackers used hacked PayPal accounts to send bogus donations to the site, making it appear that CastleCops was behind the thefts. CastleCops is working with both PayPal and the FBI to put a stop to the donations, according to Brian Krebs, the technology reporter for The Washington Post.

Starting in late August, CastleCops weathered another weeks-long DDoS attack.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?