A Wisconsin man who joined an Anonymous online protest for one minute has been sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to repay $183,000 to Koch Industries.
Eric Rosol admitted to federal prosecutors that he took part in a distributed denial-of-service attack Feb. 28, 2011, coordinated by the hacker activist group that shut down the company’s Kochind.com website for about 15 minutes.
Company owners Charles and David Koch were targeted due to their campaign to limit the bargaining power of trade unions.
The 38-year-old Rosol pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of accessing a protected computer using the Low Orbit Ion Cannon Code software investigators found on his computer.
The DDoS attack lasted for only one minute, but Rosol was prosecuted under a 1980s law – the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – that many online activists say encourages sentences that rarely fit the crime.
Rosol’s attorney and prosecutors agreed that the company lost less than $5,000 as a result of the DDoS attack, but Koch Industries complained that it had hired a consulting firm to improve security for its websites at a cost of $183,000.
Another member of Anonymous, 28-year-old Jeremy Hammond, was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison for hacking into the analysis firm Strategic Forecasting’s computers to access consumers’ credit card information and email addresses.
However, Hammond’s supporters say he was acting as a whistleblower against government surveillance and data collection.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]