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London teen pleads guilty to Spamhaus DDoS

Sentence will be passed in January next year

A 17 year-old Londoner has pleaded guilty to a series of denial-of-service attacks against internet exchanges and the Spamhaus anti-spam service last year.

The teenager – who we cannot name for legal reasons – also admitted money laundering and possessing indecent images. faces a sentencing hearing on 9 January, a police statement confirmed:

A 17-year-old male from London has this week (Wed 10 Dec) pleaded guilty to [offences under the] Computer Misuse Act, money laundering and making indecent images of children offences, following a National Crime Agency investigation. He was arrested in April 2013 after a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which led to worldwide disruption of internet exchanges and services. On his arrest officers seized a number of electronic devices. He has been bailed until 9 January 2015 pending sentencing.

Juveniles – persons aged under 18 – appearing before youth courts receive automatic anonymity under English law. The case went through London's Camberwell Green Youth Court.

The teenager was arrested and prosecuted following a series of DDoS attacks aimed at Spamhaus and content distribution network CloudFlare that ultimately affected the operation of internet exchanges.

Hackers used DNS reflection to amplify the DDoS attack. Peak traffic volumes exceeded 300 Gbps, marking the assault out as the biggest DDoSes ever.

Despite this massive volume the attack failed to break the internet's backbone, contrary to many early reports, as we reported at the time.

Other arrests were made in the case. These and other circumstances mean it’s unlikely that the 17 year-old acted alone. ®

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