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United States of America v. Austin Thompson
Case Number: 18-cr-4775JM
Judge: Janis L. Sammartino
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Benjamin J. Katz and John N. Parmley
Defendant's Attorney: Hector Jesus Tamayo
San Diego, CA - Utah Man Sentenced for Computer Hacking Crime
Austin Thompson of Utah was sentenced in federal court today to 27 months in prison for carrying out a series of so-called denial-of-service computer hacking attacks against multiple victims between 2013 and 2014. The defendant was also ordered to pay $95,000 in restitution to one of the victims - Daybreak Games, formerly Sony Online Entertainment.
A denial-of-service (DoS) attack occurs when legitimate users are unable to access information systems, devices, or other network resources due to the actions of a malicious cyber threat actor. Essentially the hacker floods the targeted host or network with traffic until the target cannot respond or simply crashes, preventing access for legitimate purposes.
According to the plea agreement, between December 2013 and January 2014, Thompson’s attacks, which flooded his victims’ servers with enough internet traffic to take them offline, were directed mainly at online gaming companies and servers, including then San Diego-based Sony Online Entertainment. Thompson typically used the Twitter account @DerpTrolling to announce that an attack was imminent and then posted “scalps” (screenshots or other photos showing that victims’ servers had been taken down) after the attack. The attacks took down game servers and related computers around the world, often for hours at a time. According to the plea agreement, Thompson’s actions caused at least $95,000 in damages.
The defendant, who is free on bond, was ordered to surrender to authorities on August 23 to begin his sentence.
“Denial-of-service attacks cost businesses and individuals millions of dollars annually,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We are committed to prosecuting hackers who intentionally disrupt internet access.” Brewer praised Assistant U.S. Attorney John Parmley and the FBI’s San Diego Field Office for their hard work on this case.
DEFENDANT Case Number 18cr4775JM
Austin Thompson Age: 23
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Damage to a Protected Computer, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)
Maximum penalty: Ten years in prison, $250,000 fine
Federal Bureau of Investigation – San Diego Field Office
Outcome: 07/02/2019 27 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Janis L. Sammartino: Sentence With PSR for Austin Thompson (1) on Count(s) 1 of the Information. Custody of the BOP for 27 months, 3 years supervised release, $100 assessment and $95,000 restitution imposed and no fine. Defendant to self surrender by 8/23/2019 before noon. Status Hearing re self surrender/bond exoneration set for 8/30/2019 09:00 AM before Judge Janis L. Sammartino (Court Reporter/ECR Frank Rangus / CRD A Ramos / USPO C Casutt / AUSA John Parmley / CJA Hector Jesus Tamayo) (no document attached) (acr) (Entered: 07/02/2019)
07/02/2019 28 JUDGMENT as to Austin Thompson (1), Count(s) 1, Custody of the BOP for 27 months, 3 years supervised release, $100 assessment and $95,000 restitution imposed and no fine. Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino (jrm) (jao). (Entered: 07/02/2019)