By Caroline McCarthy
October 24, 2006
A Florida man has been charged with launching a distributed
denial-of-service attack against servers run by Akamai Technologies.
A federal court in Boston on Tuesday heard charges that 32-year-old John
Bombard of Seminole used a variant of the Gaobot e-mail worm to turn
computers--including systems at two universities whose names have not
been disclosed--into an arsenal of "zombies" or "bots" that he could
He then used this network of hijacked computers, known as a "botnet," to
send a massive amount of traffic to the domain name system (DNS) servers
of the Global Traffic Management division of Akamai, prosecutors
alleged. Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai provides caching services for Web
sites belonging to big-name companies like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and
Apple Computers, among others.
This distributed denial-of-service attack, launched June 15, 2004,
rendered many of Akamai's clients' Web sites temporarily inaccessible,
according to the charges.
The charges of hacking, or "intentionally accessing a protected computer
without authorization," carry potential penalties of up to two years'
imprisonment and a $200,000 fine.
The case comes as botnet controllers are using increasingly
sophisticated tactics. Major arrests were made over the summer, but
attackers have kept up by writing new worms to maintain their zombie
armies. In the meantime, Web browser manufacturers are striving to
introduce more secure upgrades, like Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.
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