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Security The Courts

Anonymous Member Sentenced For Joining DDoS Attack For One Minute 562

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the are-you-serious dept.
jfruh writes "One of the most potent aspects of Anonymous is, well, its anonymity — but that isn't absolute. Eric Rosol was caught by federal authorities participating in a DDoS attack on a company owned by Koch Industry; for knocking a website offline for 15 minutes, Rosol got two years of probation and had to pay $183,000 in restitution (the amount Koch paid to a security consultant to protect its website ater the attack)." The worst part? From the article: "Eric J. Rosol, 38, is said to have admitted that on Feb. 28, 2011, he took part in a denial of service attack for about a minute on a Web page of Koch Industries..."
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Anonymous Member Sentenced For Joining DDoS Attack For One Minute

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  • by TerminaMorte (729622) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:52AM (#45595601) Homepage
    no one trusts the "justice" system anymore. One minute of using an automated tool is apparently a worse offense than crashing the economy.
  • Importance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluffythedestroyer (2586259) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:52AM (#45595609) Homepage
    1 minute or 15, you were there, your guilty. Plain and simple. so for me thats not the worst part. It seems to be a fair part if you ask me
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:53AM (#45595617)

    Doesn't matter if it was for one minute, one hour or one day. You did the crime, you do the crime. If you rape a woman for one minute, you get sentenced for the same as if you raped her for ten minutes.

    This is a stupid and dumb angle to take slashdot. You should be utterly and completely ashamed to even articulate this.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:55AM (#45595655)

    Knowingly trying to bring down web sites is a crime. Should we also not arrest people if they only throw one brick through a store window but do not take anything? Should we also not arrest people who kick someone only once when lying on the ground?

    A crime is a crime, and the act of committing a crime takes only the moment you decide you are going to commit it. The duration of the actual crime hardly matters when compared to intent.

    Also, consider the fact that the minute is only the point they could prove what he did, if he was willing to aid in DDOS attacks who knows how many other people he helped attack in the past?

  • by ikedasquid (1177957) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:56AM (#45595663)
    and the MPAA issues a successful DMCA takedown (automated) for something they do not own the rights to....nothing happens.
  • by rich_hudds (1360617) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:58AM (#45595697)
    You don't get fined $183,000 for throwing a brick through a window though.

    It's supposed to be a justice system, and that fine is clearly unjust.
  • by harvestsun (2948641) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:59AM (#45595715)
    Yes, we should arrest people that throw a brick through a window. But we should fine them the price of the window, not the price of hiring an elite security team to protect the window from future brick attacks.
  • by Ian Grant (3082979) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:00PM (#45595731)
    Where's the "Like" button? There's just something egregiously wrong when you can be fined $183,000 and get two years probation for something like participating in a short-lived denial of service attack. That's a wildly disproportionate punishment!
  • Yes, and? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:01PM (#45595743)

    In 1997 David Scott Ghantt was convicted and sent to prison for seven and a half years for only joining in a bank robbery for thirty minutes [slashdot.org].

    Is it fair that Eric Rosol was asked to pay for something Koch Industries should have done on their own, before being attacked? No. Is it fair that he should be arrested and tried for engaging in civil disobedience? Yes. That's kind of the point of it.

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:03PM (#45595787)
    The tiered justice system [youtube.com] is working exactly as intended. Most of us are just on the wrong tier [startpage.com]...
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:05PM (#45595825)

    There are plenty of people who trust the Justice system. Those who have lawyers in retinue.

  • Follow the rules (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mtrachtenberg (67780) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:06PM (#45595837) Homepage

    The rules of modern day America are pretty simple. You have liberty to do whatever you like, but DON'T FUCK WITH THE OWNERS.

  • Re:Importance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:06PM (#45595843)

    Charging robbers for the cost of replacing doors is bogus, because the home owner should have installed steel vault doors in the first place to prevent themselves from being open to attack.

  • Re:Importance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Etherwalk (681268) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:08PM (#45595865) Homepage

    No, it should be higher than that--you have to multiply it enough that it discourages the behavior. That's how legal penalties work, even in a consequentialist rather than retributivist model. That means you have to take into account the probability of getting caught, which is low.

  • Actual Violence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:10PM (#45595899)

    These people need to learn what actual violence against them and their property is

    Then you get to learn what ACTUAL violence is, either buy police officer or prison inmate.

    Let me know when you want off the not-so-merry-go-round.

    If your entire life is going to be ruined for any sort of protest, the natural incentive is to go...

    Except that property damage is not protest.

    Actions that will ruin my entire life do not "incent" me to act worse, they in fact very much incent me not to ruin my life. It is possible to protest without damaging anyone or anything, a fact that seems lost on many groups these days.

  • Re:Importance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halltk1983 (855209) <halltk1983@yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:11PM (#45595915) Homepage Journal
    Most robbers don't pay to fix the homeowners homes. Nor do they pay for the homeowners to install security systems, or hire a security guard to patrol the premises.
  • Re:Importance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:16PM (#45596009) Homepage

    Even under that model an absurdly high number is still an absurdly high number. He can never repay it. Thus it will never be repaid. The "punitive benefit" of that number is entirely bogus.

    Justice is never served by an unreasonably high number.

    It's far more likely to increase disrespect for the law.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:17PM (#45596017)

    First of all, you'll note I am mainly referring to the comment that the 'worst part" is that he only participated for a minute. You seem to be arguing the worst part is the fine.

    I partly agree, however I would also say that computers allow us to magnify actions beyond what we can do physically - just as we can send a message to millions via computer, we can also easily do millions of dollars in damage via computer to. I can't say what the right fine would be but it's probably not proportional to what someone would think one persons fine should be...

  • Re:Importance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:22PM (#45596099)

    So the best way to discourage a DDoS is to say that the more people you involve in the DDoS, the less punishment you should receive for getting caught?

    I can't think of a better way to encourage DDoS participation to be honest.

    I don't know about anybody else, but I think a DDoS is a form of censorship. A website provides information, effectively making it speech. Even if it is speech you disagree with, you should let it be. Personally, I hate communism more than just about anything, but I wouldn't ever encourage anybody to DDoS a communist website. (That isn't to say I haven't left them unmolested; I went to one of their forums asking them if they'd still work while I play world of warcraft after one of their members made a long post about how under communism every man could live life as they choose.)

    DDoS should absolutely be punished, and it shouldn't matter just how much you participated, rather mens rhea alone (the fact that you wanted it to happen, and that you actively participated in it) should determine punishment. Honestly I have no sympathy for this guy. He thought he was being clever by shutting somebody up just because he didn't like them, and now he has to answer for that. I don't care what this website it was, I don't care if it was a nazi site or some corporation that he felt was destroying his soul, you just don't do it.

  • Re:Actual Violence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:24PM (#45596121) Journal

    Then you get to learn what ACTUAL violence is, either buy police officer or prison inmate.

    His point is that this fellow is learning what ACTUAL violence is, by police officer and prison inmate, for doing nothing more than sending TCP packets.

    Except that property damage is not protest.

    Two things: A DDOS is not property damage. And are you claiming the Boston Tea Party [wikipedia.org] was not a protest?

    It is possible to protest without damaging anyone or anything

    It's not possible to effectively protest anything in todays America. You can have your say all you want inside free speech zones, but you'll never be heard. What good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:32PM (#45596261) Journal

    Two things should happen when you toss a brick through a store window. First the owner or perhaps the state on the owners behalf should initiate a civil proceeding against you where minimally upon being found liable be compelled to pay the full replacement and installation costs of a new window. Additional you might reasonably be expected to compensate the owner for the temporary loss of use of his property while the windows is being repaired. You must compensate for the harm to the owners property.

    Then a criminal charges should be brought against you because its not in societies interest to have people thinking they can go around and break windows. Given throwing bricks through plate glass in public places has a high probability of injuring others that penalty too should be not insignificant. When its all said and does committing a senseless destructive act of vandalism like that should set you back a few thousand dollars; in the interest of justice.

    Now lets think about the DDOS attack. Its vandalism pretty similar; but unless you are DDOS a hospital, public utility, or some government sites and similar there is basically no probability of anyone getting hurt as a direct consequence. So if anything the harm is automatically much lower. Unlike the window your computer is still perfectly fine once the DDOS is over and done with. So we are really down to society wanting to discourage vandalism and the short term loss of the use of property. Seems to me the penalty might be tied to the revenue the site nominally generates during the period for the owners and a little wrist for society to remind you not to be a prick.

    183K is way out of line for 60 of participation in a DDOS, even if your hitting a site like Amazon.

  • Re:Importance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:32PM (#45596271) Homepage
    Some could argue that a DDoS is nothing more than "freedom of assembly" A modern day sit in if you will
  • Re:Importance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:34PM (#45596313) Homepage Journal

    The charge here is that you stood in front of someone's house and didn't let their friends in.

    Lets at least understand the analogy ... no *damage* was done to the home by the criminal in this case. The upgrades were just to prevent the same thing from happening again.

    Legally speaking, I'd put this down as "wrong" in the same category as repeatedly ringing someone's doorbell all day to annoy them and not letting people into the driveway by standing in the way.

  • Re:Importance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:35PM (#45596329) Homepage Journal

    A DDoS should be punished with community service; its no different from protesting a store you dislike and making it hard for customers to get in.

  • by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:47PM (#45596503)

    He assumes no one will check the link and just go by what he posted (as the modding and other responses demonstrate.)

  • by GameMaster (148118) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:49PM (#45596525)

    $100 Billion may sound like a lot to you but that doesn't mean it's meaningful in regards to the actual damages done. More often than not when massive horrible things are done by Corporations (the crash of the financial/real estate markets, the Gulf oil spill, etc.) large corps get hit with penalties that look massive to an individual but actually only represent a small part of the true cost of restitution and only represent a day or two of operating profits at most for the company.

    What happened in the story is so astonishingly unjustly inverted from that scenario because, in contrast, this guy was hit with the entire cost of the damages (even though he was only a tiny contributor to the actual crime, and that penalty probably represents many years worth of profits for him (minus the basic costs of living and taxes). It would be like fining JP Morgan all the Trillions of dollars that were estimated to have been lost throughout the economy because the courts didn't feel that they were likely to be able to clearly identify any of the other big players in the crime. Then, for good measure, make it so that the costs of litigating appeals of that verdict would be so expensive that it was guaranteed to drive the company into complete bankrupts (since even if this guy has a decent job and was able to afford a non-state appointed attorney for this trial it's unlikely he'll be able to hire a highly competent set of lawyers throughout the entire appeals process in the same way major companies to in order to successfully drive down the original, already too small, fines they are hit with).

  • Re:Importance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:10PM (#45596781) Homepage

    Sorry massa, didn't mean to sit on the whites only seat. I'll go pay the fine I should morally have to pay now for breaking this fine and just law.

  • Re:Importance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HornWumpus (783565) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:13PM (#45596827)

    No. Fear of punishment is the thing that keeps me on my toes when committing serious crimes.

    As it should be.

    The real problem is there are so many laws and 'serious crimes' that I commit them by accident.

  • by krygny (473134) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:16PM (#45596903)

    Why is someone who uses legal tax exemptions the one to blame? How about the congresspukes who add 4,000 pages of exemptions, credits and penalties to the tax code every year?

    Taxes are not merely intended to take in revenue. You don't need 80,000 pages to do that. The principal purpose of the tax code is to control, or at least influence "behavior". And we all know what the IRS is for.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:18PM (#45596927) Homepage Journal

    The problem with your analogy is that in the case of murder, if a second person gets caught, he'll face murder charges too. There is no restitution - it's punitive.

    But in this case, where the only person who got caught was faced with the entire charge, a second person who gets caught won't have to pay anything because it's already paid. It destroys equality in front of the law.

    Either that, or you make the second person pay the same amount, and then you have a victim or court system that profits from him being caught. Which both are even worse alternatives.

    The damage he should pay is what damage he caused. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:19PM (#45596939)

    There's just something egregiously wrong when you can be fined $183,000 and get two years probation for something like participating in a short-lived denial of service attack. That's a wildly disproportionate punishment!

    D=P*S-B, or Deterrence = (Probability of getting caught) * (Severity of punishment) - Benefit.

    Since very few participants in a DDoS get caught, the punishment must be severe to have much deterrence.

  • Re:Actual Violence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:19PM (#45596941) Journal

    Marriage equality in several states.

    Fair enough.

    Marijuana legalization in several states.

    Notice that in both Colorado and Washington these measures were approved by the popular vote, not by legislators.

    Stopping anti-union legislation in a few states.

    Which states? Didn't help in Michigan or Wisconsin.

    An effective protest is one where your opinions are heard and considered fairly

    And that happens extremely rarely in the US. Marriage equality is one example, but a fairly trivial one. No one in power stands to gain or lose much when marriage equality is enacted. Try getting your voice heard when those in power are profiting off of the bad policy you are protesting. The overwhelming majority of issues are impossible for the public to affect because of such conflicts of interest.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {hmryobemag}> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:19PM (#45596943) Journal

    This is ridiculous. He didn't rape anyone. He didn't hurt anyone. He rapidly requested web pages for 1 minute, slightly contributing to a computer bogging down. In a less batshit-crazy, less rabidly corporatist world, this would carry a punishment on par with dropping a cigarette butt on the street.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:36PM (#45597165) Journal
    The fines are not used for restitution nor are they intended to be used for restitution. Fines are part of the punishment. They are in addition to any ordered restitution.

    All you people comparing this to breaking a window and saying how the "fine should be the replacement cost of the window" don't know the first damn thing about the law. If one throw a brick through a window, one might have to pay restitution of the replacement cost of the window, but onewill also face possible jail time and a fine.

    Let's say someone throws a brick through a $300.00 window:
    • In California, one faces up to one year in jail and/or $1000 in fines.
    • In Washington, one faces up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    • In Mississippi, one faces up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

    That is on top of any restitution the court orders. And, if you don't believe me, look it up your damn self.

  • by AIphaWolf_HK (3439155) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:41PM (#45597255)

    That's not justice at all, like the other one said. If police are too incompetent, or it is unfeasible to catch most people who commit a certain crime, they can't (or rather, shouldn't) punish those they do catch much more severely simply because they can't catch other people who commit said crime. Justice > security.

  • by SecurityTheatre (2427858) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @02:02PM (#45597521)

    Oh, you're falling into the Austrian Economics trap of thinking of everything as a rational system.

    People aren't rational. People who are violating the law especially aren't rational.

    There is ample statistics that show increases in penalties do not have a linear impact on crime on any macro scale and in many cases, increases in punishment result in no net increase in compliance.

    They do, however, from a utilitarian view, impact the overall good generated by the justice system.

    Therefore increasing penalties shows a diminishing return (and a rather rapid one, in my view).

    I view a 1 minute DoS attack as roughly akin to orchestrating one minute of blocking the entrance to a store (or maybe multiple stores). Such an act, while punishable by a trespassing fine, probably on the order of $100-$500, the "online" equivalent of $183,000 and two years probation does not match the act, especially when he was one of only several thousand people doing the same thing.

    There are a few countries in the 1960s and 1970s that adopted the policy that there is no social justification for "making an example" of someone, and that the purpose of the justice system is rehabilitation and fair application of rules, rather than vindictive retribution, catharsis for victims, or the attempt to squash crime through draconian punishments.

    Those countries (Norway, Denmark, Korea, New Zealand) stand in contrast to those countries who adopted a policy of "tough on crime" during the same period (the US, Britain, France). Looking back, the crime rates in these countries diverged, and today we find those countries with liberal justice systems having seen their crime rate drop much faster than those with draconian justice policy.

    Sure, this is anecdote, but I don't buy vengance or harsh deterrence as justified reasons for rolling out the stocks on the few people who are caught at a relatively rare crime.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <`VortexCortex' ` ... -retrograde.com'> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @02:17PM (#45597721) Homepage

    deterrence

    Prove the deterrence exists, otherwise the equation is irrational: Based zero evidence, and on speculative bullshit instead.

  • by someSnarkyBastard (1521235) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @02:26PM (#45597867)

    ...create civil disobedience and not get caught.

    Then you are missing the point of civil disobedience. You are supposed to get caught, especially in places like the US where LEOs like to have a bit of theatricality in perp-walking someone out to the squad car. You want all the attention you can get, that's the point, you are calling attention to something you believe to be wrong.

  • by Rob Y. (110975) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @03:08PM (#45598491)

    Well, there's one DDOS attack that's perfectly legal. Boycott Koch Industries and all their products. Of course it'd take some hunting to find out just what Koch does besides drill for oil, foul the environment and inject tons of money to corrupt the political system to their ends.

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @03:27PM (#45598861)

    That's the "Insightful" or "Interesting" option, which you don't have but I do. Oops!

    Not to be confused with the [I Disagree] option, which is labelled "Troll" and/or "Flamebait."

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