Hacker pleads guilty to attacking anti-phishing group

A California hacker pleaded guilty to launching a computer attack last year that almost knocked the Castlecops anti-phishing Web site offline.

A Fairfield, California, hacker has pleaded guilty to launching a Valentine's Day 2007 computer attack that nearly knocked an anti-phishing Web site offline.

Gregory King, 21, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to two counts of "transmitting code to cause damage to a protected computer," for launching distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against the Castlecops anti-phishing Web site and Killanet, an online forum for gamers and graphic designers.

He was arrested on Oct. 1 as part of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's Operation Bot Roast. As agents knocked on his door, King stashed his laptop computer in his backyard, but it was eventually recovered, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).

Killanet was attacked between 2004 and 2006 by King's botnet of about 7,000 hacked computers, the DoJ said in a statement.

Castlecops Castlecops notice that its attack reached a peak strength of 969M bps. If the volunteer-run organization had been charged for all that bandwidth, it would have had to close shop, the group said.

Castlecops collects information on phishing attacks and works with law enforcement to thwart the attacks.

King's plea agreement calls for a two-year prison sentence. He is set to be sentenced on Sept. 3 by United States District Judge Lawrence Karlton.

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
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