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10/25/2006
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Florida Man Charged With Launching 2004 Botnet DoS Attack

Authorities charged a Florida man with using a botnet to launch a denial-of-service assault that took offline several major Web sites, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

Federal authorities charged a Florida man Tuesday with attacking Akamai in the summer of 2004, a denial-of-service assault that took offline several major Web sites, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

John Bombard, 32, was charged with two counts of unauthorized computer access in a Boston court, where federal lawyers alleged that the Florida resident turned a network of bots -- previously-compromised computers -- on Akamai. According to the charges, Bombard used the "Gaobot" worm to infect the computers, then controlled them through another compromised PC owned by an unnamed university, and finally instructed them to conduct a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on Akamai.

"Akamai customers had access to their respective Web sites slowed or rendered inaccessible for a period of time," U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said in a statement. The June 2004 DoS crippled Akamai's domain name system (DNS) servers, which made it impossible for users to reach some of the Cambridge, Mass.-based company's customers. Akamai accelerates Web content delivery by deploying copies of customers' Web sites to more than 20,000 servers scattered across 70 countries.

Among the high-profile sites that went dark for several hours were those run by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

If convicted, Bombard faces up to four years in prison and a fine of $400,000.

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