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Two Indicted for DDOS 'Hit' on US Satellite Providers

European attackers allegedly hired by rival satellite provider, Justice Dept. says

A British man and a German man yesterday were indicted by a federal grand jury for launching large-scale distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks that shut down the Websites of two U.S.-based retail satellite services.

Lee Graham Walker, 24, of Bleys Bolton, England, and Axel Gembe, 25, of Germany, are accused of making the attacks under a "contract" with Jay Echouafni, the former owner of satellite provider Orbit Communications Corp., who allegedly hired the two to disable the Websites of his company's competitors.

Walker and Gembe are each accused of one count of conspiracy and one count of intentionally damaging a computer system -- charges that could bring each of them a prison sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Echoufani, who was charged in 2004, is still a fugitive being sought by the FBI. A colleague who worked with Echoufani has already served a two-year prison sentence.

The attacks were waged against the computers of the Miami Beach-based Rapid Satellite and the Los Angeles-based Weaknees by attacking their public Websites, where the companies did all of their business, according to the Department of Justice.

In October 2003, Weaknees reported a series of DDOS attacks that effectively halted its business for nearly two weeks and caused more than $200,000 in losses. Rapid Satellite was similarly attacked and suffered significant losses.

Court documents allege that Echouafni hired Walker to launch the DDOS attacks against Orbit’s competitors in California and Florida. According to the indictment, Walker used a network of computers that he developed with Gembe to launch the attacks. Gembe is the developer of the well known Agobot computer worm, a version of which allegedly was used in the attacks.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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