Hacker Receives Sentence of 27 Months in Prison for Trolling Gamers

By Bill Toulas / July 5, 2019

The sadistic, antisocial, and disruptive behavior of online trolling is something that goes largely unpunished. However, every once in a while, someone takes it too far, causing mayhem that affects many people, and so companies decide to take action and prevent this from happening again to them and their communities. In such a case, 23-year-old Austin Thompson (DerpTroll) pledged guilty of launching DDoS attacks against gaming servers and websites between December 2013 and January 2014, and received a sentence of 27 months of imprisonment. The case was only recently publicized by the U.S. Department of Justice although Thompson admitted his wrongdoing back in November 2018, as he is just now called to enter the cell and begin the sentence.

The Utah-based hacker has reportedly attacked platforms belonging to Electronic Arts (Origin), the Sony PlayStation network, and Valve’s Steam. As the DDoS attacks took place during Christmas when people like to spend some relaxing time playing games, the disruption and annoyance hit the roof. Thompson was even announcing that an attack was imminent on his Twitter account, and then posted “scalps” with screenshots that showed his success. The associated damages that were sustained by the aforementioned companies reached $95000, and the Department of Justice has ordered the payment of this amount by the hacker, in addition to the prison sentence.

Around the same time as when Thompson wallowed in his DDoS trolling pleasure, another hacking group called the “Lizard Squad” launched similar attacks against Microsoft Xbox Live service and the Sony PlayStation network. These attacks didn’t go unanswered either, as several young trolls were arrested in Finland, USA, and the UK, getting convicted to two years in prison. These arrests were made possible thanks to the diligent work of the National Crime Agency. In the case of Austin Thompson, the hacker was located and caught by the FBI’s San Diego Field Office.

All in all, the hacker should consider himself lucky, as the summary of charges that was set against him foresees a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of $250000. With the imposed fine at $95000, and the prison sentence being only 27 months, the hacker will learn his lesson and others who could be thinking about carrying similar attacks “for fun” will receive a clear message to not even think about it.

Do you believe that the punishment is fair, too harsh, or too lenient in the particular case? Let us know where you stand in the comments down below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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