RealTime IT News

Canadian Police Apprehend Juvenile Hacker

The Mounties have their man. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a Canadian youth who goes by the handle "Mafiaboy" has been arrested and charged with attacking high-profile Web sites, including CNN.com, Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon.com, Excite and E*trade.

A statement released by the RCMP notes that charges were brought Monday "against a person stemming from cyber-attacks that were launched in the beginning of the month of February 2000 against many Internet sites."

Although the statement did not specify precisely what the charges are, it did say that the allegations are part of a wide-ranging investigation that involves the Computer Investigation and Support Unit of the RCMP in Montreal, the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department and the National Infrastructure Protection Center.

Mafiaboy will be charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was expanded in 1996 to cover all computers used in commerce. It prohibits the unauthorized access to obtain information, the transmission of anything that causes damage, fraud and extortion. Penalties can include up to six months in jail or 10 years for a repeat offender and twice the gross monetary loss to the victim.

A news conference is planned for 10:30 a.m. today at RCMP headquarters in Montreal.

The RCMP investigation also has led to the incarceration of Dennis Moran, a.k.a. "Coolio," a 17-year-old high-school dropout. Arrested in March, Moran was charged as an adult for Web site defacement to the DARE anti-drug site. He faces two counts of unauthorized access to a computer system and has been released on bail.

The investigation has given authorities the opportunity to bring light on Internet attacks that have strongly shaken the heart of electronic commerce worldwide causing losses that were evaluated at hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars.