Industry News

Derp! DDoS attacker who brought down EA, Sony, and Steam jailed for 27 months

A 23-year-old man has plenty of time to mull over whether it’s funny to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks against online services, after he was sentenced to prison this week.

Austin Thompson, who called himself “DerpTrolling” online, launched a series of DDoS attacks against the likes of Sony’s PlayStation Network, Electronic Arts, Riot Games, Nintendo, Quake Live, League of Legends, Steam, and others… seemingly “for the lulz.”

At the height of Thompson’s activity, during the Christmas/New Year period of 2013/2014, he successfully bombarded video game services with so much traffic that they were knocked offline.

Through the @DerpTrolling Twitter account, Thompson not only bragged about the success of his attacks but also promoted a phone number with an invitation for followers to send in their suggestions for websites that they would like to be targeted next.

DerpTrolling’s true identity and address in Utah was doxxed by one of his Twitter followers in January 2014, but it took until mid-2018 for Austin Thompson to be arrested.

Thompson pleaded guilty to the denial-of-service attacks last November,

ZDNet managed this week to get their hands on Thompson’s sentencing document, which reveals that he will begin his 27 months’ prison sentence on August 27, and has been ordered to pay US $95,000 in restitution.

During Thompson’s attacks against the video game services he jokingly described the DDoS attacks as a way “to spoil everyone’s holiday” and “make people spend time with their families.”

Well, because of his immature, dumb and destructive actions he won’t be spending much time with his family or going on any holidays for some time to come…

DDoS attacks which clog up websites, and prevent others from using them, aren’t a joke. They have a real impact on real people and businesses. The perpetrators of DDoS attacks need to learn that the authorities don’t shrug off such criminal acts as a teenage prank.

About the author

Graham CLULEY

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s, having been employed by companies such as Sophos, McAfee and Dr Solomon's. He has given talks about computer security for some of the world's largest companies, worked with law enforcement agencies on investigations into hacking groups, and regularly appears on TV and radio explaining computer security threats.

Graham Cluley was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame in 2011, and was given an honorary mention in the "10 Greatest Britons in IT History" for his contribution as a leading authority in internet security.

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