Hacker Receives More Than Two Years Prison Time, Fines For DDoS Attacks On Daybreak Games

Hacker Receives More Than Two Years Prison Time, Fines For DDoS Attacks On Daybreak Games
Credit: Daybreak Games via YouTube

Online hacker Austin Thompson will go to prison for 27 months after admitting to US Attorneys that he was behind several Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on Sony Online Entertainment in 2013 and 2014. Thompson was a member of the online hacker group, “DerpTrolling,” which carried out routine attacks on several online gaming companies.

Thompson and his online hacker organization hit several online gaming services in a row. Those attacks were not only directed at Sony Online Entertainment but also at Battle.net, League of Legends, and Dota 2. US Attorneys in Southern California announced the news late on Tuesday, July 2nd.

Thompson had been proffered a plea agreement in exchange for the sentence and accepted. In addition to the jail time handed down, Thompson will also have to pay back $95,000 to Daybreak Games.

DDoS attacks are a common tactic for online hacking organizations. In order for the attack to succeed, hackers need to flood a system with requests from outside the server—those requests eventually overload the machine’s ability to process all of the information and the server crashes or its service becomes incapacitated for regular users.

DerpTrolling, like most other hacking groups, primarily used DDoS attacks to hit their targets—attorneys said Thompson’s attacks took down several of the games worldwide for a few hours each.

Thompson will pay his indemnity to Daybreak Game Company, which is the successor of Sony Online Entertainment. The change came in February of 2015 after the company spun off and became an independent investor of Sony Computer Entertainment rather than being merely its subsidiary. Daybreak Games is responsible for the 1999 fantasy MMORPG EverQuest, the DC superhero MMORPG DC Universe Online and, most recently, the battle-royale game H1Z1.

A large part of Thompson’s role in the organization included running the DerpTrolling Twitter account. Thompson would post images on the Twitter page that hinted at the group’s next target, called “scalps” in hacker parlance. During his tenure as the DerpTrolling Twitter page manager in early 2014, Thompson probably used the account to jokingly tweet “brb fbi at door” and “Told the feds we were in the shower and they gave us a few minutes, we escaped through the window.” On the latter tweet, one person with the display name, “Lil’ Derp,” replied, “2pro4cops.” Indeed.

Unfortunately for Thompson and DerpTrolling, it wasn’t long before the FBI actually showed up at his door. Most of us know crime doesn’t pay. Maybe derp-trolling doesn’t either.

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