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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 00:19 GMT 01:19 UK
'Mafiaboy' hacker jailed
eBay was one of the sites targeted by hackers
eBay was one of the sites targeted
A Canadian hacker nicknamed Mafiaboy has been sentenced to eight months in a youth detention centre.

Judge Gilles Ouellet ruled that the 17-year-old teenager from Montreal committed a criminal act when he crippled major internet sites like Amazon and Yahoo last year, causing an estimated $1.7 billion in damages.

"The motivation was undeniable," the judge said. "The adolescent had a criminal intent."

The custodial sentence was welcomed by the prosecution as a strong message against the world's hacking community.

Denial-of-service attacks

The boy, who pleaded guilty in January to 55 charges of mischief, cannot be identified under a Canadian law protecting young offenders.

We think it is a reasonable ruling. It sends a strong message to hackers that they will get caught if they do things like that

Prosecutor Louis Miville-Deschenes
Mafiaboy admitted involvement in denial-of-service attacks last year against websites belonging to several companies, including Amazon, Dell and eBay.

The sites were bombarded with thousands of simultaneous messages, which prevented users from accessing them for up to five hours. Other charges involved illegal use of computers to help with the attacks.

The judge also ordered the teenager to face one year of probation after his detention ends, and fined him $160.

Strong message

Prosecutor Louis Miville-Deschenes said he was pleased with the ruling.

"We think it is a reasonable ruling. It sends a strong message to hackers that they will get caught if they do things like that," he said.

One of the victims of Mafiaboy's hacking said the case showed authorities would prosecute hackers.

"I'm pleased by the fact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and FBI demonstrated this type of activity can be tracked and a successful prosecution can result," said Kevin Schmidt, network programmer at the University of California at Santa Barbara, US.

"This is perhaps more important than the actual sentence since many hackers don't seem to believe they'll ever be prosecuted."

See also:

30 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
'Mafiaboy' faces sentencing
16 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Special report: The web under attack
26 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
Unweaving the world wide web
06 Sep 99 | e-cyclopedia
Cracking: Hackers turn nasty
10 Feb 00 | Business
How the web was wounded
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