Three Charged in Comcast Cyber-Attack

Three men were charged by federal indictment Nov. 19 in connection with attacking and redirecting traffic to sites under their control. The group altered Comcast's DNS records and is estimated to have cost the company more than $128,000.

Three men have been charged by federal authorities for redirecting traffic for last year to sites under the trio's control.

According to the FBI, Christopher Allen Lewis, 19, of Newark, Del., Michael Paul Nebel, 27, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and 20-year-old James Robert Black Jr. of Tumwater, Wash., were part of a cyber-gang known as Kryogeniks. The three are accused of attacking Comcast's Website May 28, 2008, to disable subscriber access and redirect Comcast customers to the group's sites.

The group did this by gaining unauthorized access to Comcast's Domain Name System ("DNS") records, which were maintained by a domain registrar company, and then altering them. According to the indictment, the three continued to change Comcast's DNS records even after Comcast employees in Philadelphia made efforts to correct the company's DNS records.

As a result, authorities said, Comcast customers trying to read their e-mail or listen to their voice mail were sent to a Website that displayed the following message: "KRYOGENIKS Defiant and EBK RoXed COMCAST sHouTz to VIRUS Warlock elul21 coll1er seven." At the time, about 5 million people connected to the Comcast site each day, according to the FBI. The incident cost Comcast roughly $128,000.

If convicted, each faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and up to three years of supervised release after imprisonment. In addition, the court may order the defendants to pay restitution.