Federal authorities have raided the home of a suburban Washington family after tracing a crippling attack on the website of Kiss frontman and anti-piracy crusader Gene Simmons to an internet connection there.
According to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Scott Love, the distributed denial-of-service attacks on www.genesimmons.com, www.simmonsrecords.com and www.kissonline.com commenced on October 14, 10 days after the aging rocker castigated artists and record labels alike for not doing more to pursue people who download music for free on the internet.
“The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn't have the balls to sue every fresh-faced, freckle-based college kid who downloaded material,” Simmons said during an address at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes, France. “And so now we're left with hundreds of thousands of people without jobs. There's no industry.”
Simmons also encouraged musicians to “be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don't let anybody cross that line.”
People claiming affiliation with the Anonymous hacker and griefer collective quickly denounced the comments and encouraged members to take action. The DDoS attacks that followed took Simmons's websites offline for about 36 hours, according to the FBI's Love. When service was restored, Simmons posted a rant to his site that told the attackers “we will sue their pants off” and warned “they might find their little butts in jail, right next to someone who's been there for years and is looking for a new girl friend.”
On October 18, Simmons websites came under a new round of attacks that lasted four days, even though they had been moved to a new webhost. The assaults cost Simmons as much as $25,000 in downtime and expenses associated with changing servers and hosts.
According to Love, some of the junk traffic that brought down the websites came from the residence of Darrin M. Lantz, of Gig Harbor, Washington. The IP address in the home pinged one of the targeted websites 48,471 times during a 47-minute period.
Attempts to contact the Lantzes weren't successful, but according to KOMONews.com, federal agents, with guns drawn, raided the Lantz home recently and seized a computer belonging to a teenager who lived there.
“I had no idea,” Rhoda Lantz was quoted as saying. “All they said was something about internet crime.”
There are no reports of any charges being filed in connection to the raid.
The report comes as corporate executives, authorities and journalists sift through often contradictory claims about the involvement of Anonymous in attacks on the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America and more recently on sites such as PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard for cutting off services to whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
A Sony executive last week implicated Anonymous in attacks that stole data from more than 100 million users of the PlayStation Network and the company's online PC games website. Since then, dueling posts in blogs and news websites have offered conflicting accounts, with some claiming the loosely organized group had nothing to do with the Sony hacks and other saying that members likely were involved.
The affidavit is here. ®