Teen hacker 'Mafiaboy' sentenced

The 17-year-old computer hacker responsible for denial-of-service attacks that crippled several Web sites last year has been sentenced to eight months in a juvenile detention center.

Montreal Judge Gilles Ouellet yesterday said the youth, who was 15 at the time of the incidents, committed a crime when he brought down the Internet sites of Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc., Yahoo Inc., CNN.com, Dell Computer Corp. and others in February 2000.

The teen, who goes by the Internet nickname "Mafiaboy," was also sentenced to serve a year of probation after his detention ends, said Montreal prosecutor Louis Miville-Deschenes.

In January, the teenager pleaded guilty to more than 50 charges related to the attacks and one charge of violating the terms of his bail (see story), according to Miville-Deschenes.

The maximum sentence he could have received was two years in custody. Miville-Deschenes said he had asked the judge to sentence the youth to a year in the juvenile detention center, which is a locked facility. He said the defense attorney had asked for no jail time.

"I'm very happy with the sentence," Miville-Deschenes said, adding that the sentence should serve as a deterrent to other teenage hackers.

Miville-Deschenes said that as part of the sentence, Mafiaboy is forbidden from profiting in any way from the incident until he has served his probation.

Mafiaboy is also prohibited from possessing any software that's not commercially available; he can't use the Internet to talk with any other hacker; and he's banned from hacking into any other sites. He also must inform law enforcement authorities of the name of his Internet service provider.

Miville-Deschenes said the youth is required to donate $250 to a Montreal charity for violating the terms of his bail, which said he had to attend school and be on his best behavior. The prosecutor said Mafiaboy had been suspended from school, which violated his bail provisions.

The teen's attorney didn't return telephone calls requesting comment.

Kevin Schmidt, a network programmer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which was one of the victims of Mafiaboy's hacking, said he thought the sentence was "basically reasonable."

"However, the sentence could not compensate for the time, effort and money that went into the investigation," Schmidt said. He said he hopes Mafiaboy's sentence will send a message to other young people that hacking is a crime and they will be prosecuted.

Ira Winkler, president of the Internet Security Advisors Group in Severna Park, Md., agreed.

"This sends a message that when you cause a lot of damage, being a kid won't protect you," he said.

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