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DDoS Subscription Service Operator Gets 2 Years in Prison

The distributed denial-as-a-service websites were behind more than 200K attacks on targets including schools and hospitals.

The operator of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack business was sentenced to two years in federal prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.

Matthew Gatrel offered DDoS attacks as a service on sites including DownThem.org and AmpNode.com, along with what was billed as "bulletproof" hosting. The sites offered subscription plans with varying degrees of attack capacity, power, and durations, according to the US Attorney's Office in the Central District of California, which prosecuted the case. 

Records show Gatrel's services were behind more than 200,000 attacks on victims that included homes, schools, universities, local and municipal governments, and financial institutions. 

"Gatrel ran a criminal enterprise designed around launching hundreds of thousands of cyber-attacks on behalf of hundreds of customers," prosecutors explained in court documents. “He also provided infrastructure and resources for other cybercriminals to run their own businesses launching these same kinds of attacks. These attacks victimized wide swaths of American society and compromised computers around the world.”

Gatrel's co-defendant, California resident Juan Martinez, pleaded guilty to participating in the cybercrime and was sentenced to five years' probation, the US Attorney's office said.