RealTime IT News

Floridian Charged in Akamai Attack

A 32-year-old Floridian faces charges in Massachusetts for his alleged role in launching a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Akamai Technologies.

The attack caused a loss of service to the Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai customers.

According to the FBI, John Bombard of Seminole, Fla., established a "bot" network of compromised computers to launch the DDOS attack on Akamai.

A bot is a program that places itself on vulnerable computers, then runs silently in the background until it receives direction from another, controlling computer.

In the Akamai attack, the bot network received its instructions from a series of computers, including ones located at two major universities.

The FBI did not name the university computer systems involved in the attack.

Bombard was charged with two counts of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization. If convicted, he could receive up to a two-year prison sentence followed by one year of supervised release.

He could also be fined up to $200,000 on each of the two counts.

A DDOS attack causes a loss of service to users by consuming the bandwidth of the victim network or overloading its resources. The Akamai domain name servers targeted in the DDOS attack served a number of Akamai customers.

The affected Akamai customers had access to their sites slowed or rendered inaccessible for a period of time.

Massachusetts officials also claim Bombard compromised the computers in the bot network he used to attack Akamai by using a variant of the GAOBOT worm, which is capable of reproducing itself and can spread from one computer to another in a network.

According to the FBI, Bombard directed the attack from the unidentified university systems to the bot network from a computer located on his own domain.