A UK man has been given eight and a half months in prison for launching a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks in 2013.
The Liverpool court gave Ian Sullivan the 34-week sentence for conducting more than 300 denial of service attacks on various government, political and financial sites in 2013. Sullivan admitted to the charges earlier this year.
The 51 year old father of six had targeted sites including the UK Conservative Party, British Airways and a number of banks by flooding their websites with traffic and knocking them offline, a technique known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Though Sullivan had been connected with Anonymous, the personal nature of the targets chosen (such as social service and housing authorities in the UK) suggest the DDoS attacks were more of a personal vendetta than an organized group effort.
Police were able to track Sullivan down in part because of his use of a Twitter account to announce the attacks. That account, @anonian01, has since been suspended but was reported to have included 'tango down' messages with the names of the targeted sites.
The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) has maintained that the attacks were limited to the DDoS flood and that no other systems were breached during the traffic floods.
Writing for security company ESET, analyst Graham Cluley noted that while DDoS attacks are relatively simple to perform and hardly fall under the banner of actual "hacking", the stunts are taken quite seriously.
"It’s extraordinary how many people believe that participating in or indeed actually co-ordinating a denial-of-service attack can be done across the internet with no risk of the authorities determining your identity," he wrote.
"Although it’s far from always possible to determine the perpetrators of an attack and bring them to justice, there are plenty of people who have been put behind bars because of this modern-day crime." ®