'Mafiaboy' hacker awaits April sentencing

The unidentified boy, who quit school and works a menial job, pleaded guilty on Thursday to five counts of mischief, 51 counts of illegal access to a computer and one count of breach of bail conditions, said Leo Monbourquette, a spokesman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The boy will be sentenced on April 17 and 18 in the Youth Court of Quebec before Judge Gills Ouellet, Monbourquette added.

The judge possesses broad discretion on what kind of sentence he can impose, ranging from a fine to detention, Monbourquette said. The unidentified boy also must abide by a curfew of staying at his family's home from 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., he said. The maximum fine he can receive is $CD1,000 (approximately $1,140).

The boy admitted guilt in a series of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks between February 6 and February 14, 2000, on several commercial networks like AOL Time Warner's CNN network, ETrade Group and Dell Computer's Web site. Eleven sites in all were adversely impacted. The DoS (denial of service) attacks flooded companies' networks with phoney information requests that caused networks to shut down, resulted in lost business, equipment damage and even made stock prices dip.

The boy utilised a DDoS tool he obtained from another hacker called Sinkhole and utilised the power of more than 70 computers in 52 different networks, most of them in universities, to flood the commercial Webs and shut them down, Canadian authorities have said.

The boy's attorney said his client admits his role in the attacks and wants to get on with his life.

"He is anxious to have this whole situation behind him," said Yan Romanowski, an attorney in Montreal representing the boy. "His ambition one day is to go to a computer school."

The RCMP and US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials have estimated that Mafiaboy caused $US1.7 billion in damage. When Romanowski heard the figure, he called it a "shocker."

"I absolutely can not believe that is the damage," he said. "I don't even think it was close to that."

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