computer criminal

Dennis Moran (computer criminal)

Dennis M. Moran, also known as Coolio, (born in Winchester, Massachusetts, in 1982) is an American hacker who was accused in February 2000 of a series of Denial-of-service attacks that shut down some of the most popular websites on the Internet. He was later arrested and pled guilty to defacing the websites of DARE and RSA Security, as well as unauthorized access of US Army and Air Force computer systems at four military bases.

The attacks

On February 7, 2000 a smurf attack generating over 1 gigabit per second of ICMP traffic was launched against Yahoo's routers, causing their websites to be inaccessible to the world for hours. In a message sent to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), Yahoo network engineer Jan B. Koum stated that the attackers were "above your average script kiddie" and "knew about our topology and planned this large scale attack in advance."

Shortly thereafter, Stanford University's computer security administrator David J. Brumley began monitoring Internet Relay Chat (IRC) traffic on irc.stanford.edu, which was a public server on the EFnet IRC network. He discovered discussions about the attack on Yahoo taking place which led him to believe members of the IRC channel #goonies had information about the source of the attacks, and he contacted the FBI to give them transcripts of the IRC chat.

Over the following week a series of equally crippling Denial-of-service attacks affected many other major internet sites including eBay, Amazon.com, E*TRADE, and Buy.com. A security consultant named Joel de la Garza also began investigating the IRC channel #goonies and while he was in the channel, RSA Security's website was redirected to a hacked web server in Colombia with a defaced copy of their home page. The defacement included a reference to David Brumley's nickname on IRC, as he had joined the channel by then in an attempt to gather more information from Dennis. de la Garza witnessed this live show of criminal activity and later reported about it to the media. On March 5, 2000 the FBI raided Moran's house and seized his computers. Despite the incriminating chat transcripts and possession of the contents of his computers, Moran was not charged with any crime by federal prosecutors.

After having so much attention drawn to him, and de la Garza's account of Moran being responsible for defacing RSA's website, the FBI investigated Moran's connections to other website defacements . Eventually they passed this evidence on to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office and Moran was charged as an adult with 7 counts of Class A felony unauthorized access of a computer. One year later, on March 9, 2001 he plead guilty to 4 counts of misdemeanor unauthorized access of a computer and was sentenced to 12 months in jail with 3 months suspended as well as ordered to pay $15,000 USD in restitution.

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