Teenager pleads guilty to botnet, 'swatting' charges

A 16-year-old Massachusetts boy has pleaded guilty to running a botnet and "swatting" victims with hoax emergency telephone calls.

A Boston-area teenager has pleaded guilty to charges of hacking and placing fake emergency phone calls in hopes of summoning police tactical response teams to the homes of his victims.

The 16-year-old boy, who was not named by authorities because he is a juvenile, was known by his hacker name, Dshocker. In a plea-bargain agreement, he accepted an 11-month juvenile detention facility sentence and pleaded guilty to hacking and fraud charges stemming from his activities that stretched back to 2005, when he was about 13 years old.

The U.S. Department of Justice claims that the boy launched cyber attacks from a botnet of several thousand infected computers he controlled and also used stolen credit cards.

He was also charged with "swatting," a form of telephone hacking that has been on the FBI's radar lately. Swatters use legal phone-spoofing cards to make it appear as though they are dialing 911 emergency dispatch lines from the addresses of their victims. Swatting takes its name from the acronym SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), used to describe elite police tactical response teams.

The idea is to disrupt the lives of people they don't like by having SWAT teams suddenly show up at their doors.

Dshocker's "swatting activities created a serious risk of physical harm to innocent victims, and the multiple bomb threats caused extensive disruptions to important public services," the Department of Justice said in a statement released Tuesday.

An adult charged with these offenses would be facing 10 years in prison, the statement said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags botnetscybercrime

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?