A 37-year-old Anonymous member faces up to five years in prison if found guilty of a DDoS attack against a multinational company, according to IT World. If convicted, he may also be forced to pay up to $500,000 fines.
Eric J. Rosol from the US state of Wisconsin allegedly participated in the attack on a website of the Koch Industries back in February 2011. The firm is involved in several businesses, including oil and manufacturing.
At the beginning of 2011, Anonymous started to encourage attacks against the multinational for the role it allegedly played in weakening the bargaining power of trade unions.
To attack www.kochind.com, Eric Rosol used Low Orbit Ion Cannon, a popular tool written in C# that allows attackers to overload a website with requests and disrupt the servers. The Koch Industries website crashed and was temporarily unavailable.
Rosol is now charged with one count of conspiracy to damage a protected computer and another count of damaging a protected computer.
Several civil rights organizations in the US have criticized the penalties faced by hackers, arguing they are often higher than sentences for similar crimes in the physical world. The debate intensified early this year after Internet activist Aaron Swartz was driven to suicide by prosecutors who accused him of accessing documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.