Embarrassed Hacker Gets Two Years Behind Bars

Dennis Faas's picture

A computer programmer will spend two years behind bars after bringing down several high-profile websites. But unlike most modern hackers, Bruce Raisley was motivated by embarrassment rather than greed.

Raisley had formerly worked for an online vigilante group known as Perverted Justice, which has members pose as youngsters online in order to catch and expose adults seeking an illicit meeting. The group works with television show To Catch A Predator.

Eventually, Raisley quit the group following an argument with its founder, Xavier Von Erck, who then carried out a quite spectacular and ironic attack on Raisley: he posed as woman who chatted to Raisley online.

Raisley reportedly then sent revealing photos of himself to the "woman" and even agreed to leave his wife. However, when the alleged couple met in person for the first time, Raisley was instead met by a photographer hired by Von Erck.

Shame-Faced Hacker Tries to Hide Story

The pictures and details of Raisley falling for the online tactics later appeared in Rolling Stone and Radar magazine. He responded by launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the relevant pages of the online editions of the magazines, along with sites that had reproduced the story.

A denial of service attack involves repeatedly accessing a page until it becomes inaccessible to all other users. The "distributed" element of such attack means using multiple machines simultaneously, making the attack much more effective.

In this case, Raisley used malicious software to take control of around 100,000 third-party computers, at one point attempting to load the relevant pages millions of times a day.

Slovenian Slip-Up Does In DDoSer

Unfortunately for Raisley, one of the computers caught up in the attacks belonged to a major academic network in Slovenia which also happens to co-ordinate online security within their company.

Officials there were able to look through the coding of the malicious software and show that the infected computers were set to check in with two US websites to receive further instructions; both of these sites were found to be under Raisley's control. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

As well as receiving a 24 month sentence, Raisley must pay just over $90,000 in damages to cover both the expense the magazine sites faced in dealing with the attacks and the lost advertising revenue caused by the pages being inaccessible. (Source: pcmag.com)

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