Authorities in the US have shown their intolerance for so-called ‘hacktivism’ by sentencing a 38-year-old Wisconsin man to two years’ probation and an $183,000 fine for joined an online attack for just a single minute.
Eric J. Rosol participated in a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) against the website for American multinational Koch Industries.
DDoS attacks ‘take down’ websites by repeatedly loading them using automatic software. The attack was organised by the hacker group Anonymous and succeed in taking the website offline for only 15 minutes.
Rosol pleaded guilty to one misdemeanour count of accessing a protect computer, and although both parties agree that the direct loss to Koch Industries (the second largest privately owned company in the US) was less than $5,000, because the corporation had hired a consulting group to protect its web territory for fees of $183,000 – this was the sum that Rosol must now pay.
Koch Industries works in a number of industries including petroleum and manufacturing and reported revenues of $115 billion in 2013. The company is controlled by brothers Charles and David Koch (the world’s sixth and seventh richest men) who inherited it from their deceased father Fred C. Koch, the company’s founder.
Koch Industries is often the subject of controversy in the US for its financial support of right-wing Tea Party and its opposition to the green energy industry. The brothers have also donated more than $120m to groups working to discredit climage change science.
The DDoS attack which Rosol took part in was organized in opposition to Koch Industries’ reported weakening of trade unions.