Former Internet Vigilante Gets Two Years For DDoS Attack

on April 15 2011 6:08 PM

A computer programmer who once volunteered for Perverted Justice, the producers of To Catch a Predator, was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for launching a botnet that attacked the organization's web site.

In September, Bruce Raisley, 48, of Kansas City, Mo., was convicted by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He had created a virus that spread to about 100,000 computers and launched a number of DDoS attacks in 2007 and 2008.

According to court filings, Raisley once volunteered for Perverted Justice, the organization famous for working with the television show To Catch a Predator, which runs sting operations to catch pedophiles.

Raisley had a falling out with Perverted Justice's founder, Xavier von Erck, and became an outspoken critic of the group. Van Erck decided to pull a sting on Raisley, so he posed as a woman named Holly on the Internet and convinced Raisley to leave his wife. A volunteer for Perverted Justice then took a picture of Raisley as he went to meet the woman (who didn't exist) at the airport.

After that incident, Radar Magazine and Rolling Stone both published articles about the television show To Catch a Predator, and both referenced Raisley. The two stories were reposted on several sites beyond Radar and Rolling Stone. One was that of the Rick Ross Institute of New Jersey.

Embarrassed, Raisley decided to remove the articles from the web sites, so he wrote and launched the virus that spawned the botnet.

Raisley targeted several web sites, including those Rolling Stone, Radar, Nettica, Corrupted Justice, and the Rick Ross Institute of New Jersey. The U.S. Department of Justice said those sites suffered damages in excess of $100,000 in lost revenues and mitigation.

According to the criminal complaint, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Raisley's home, he told them that the virus was on a memory stick the agents found and admitted to writing it.

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