FBI: Chaos on the Internet Is Unacceptable

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-07-29 Print this article Print


In a recent interview with NPR, FBI Director Steve Chabinsky discussed the recent arrests. "We want to send a message that chaos on the Internet is unacceptable. [Even if] hackers can be believed to have social causes, it's entirely unacceptable to break into Websites and commit unlawful acts," Chabinsky said.

The charge of intentional damage to a protected computer carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and each count of conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the FBI. Anonymous "suspects" may face a fine of up to $500,000, with the addition of 15 years' jail time even if all they did was download the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon software to take part in the DDOS attack.

Some Internet users forget that participating in DDOS attacks against Websites and online organizations for whatever reason is against the law, Graham Cluley of Sophos, told eWEEK. "If found guilty, most of these individuals are likely to turn out to be foot soldier volunteers in a much bigger Internet conflict, and yet by knowingly participating in a denial-of-service attack it's unlikely that they will be looked upon kindly by the courts," Cluley said.

Anonymous claims there is a "vast difference" between participating in a civil protest and cyber-criminals running a large botnet.

"The end doesn't justify the means. Time spent throwing bricks through other people's digital windows doesn't actually teach anyone anything about glassmaking, glazing or civil engineering," Paul Ducklin, head of technology for the Asia Pacific group at Sophos, wrote on the NakedSecurity blog in June.


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