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DDoS-for-Hire Service Admin Gets 13 Months in Prison

An Illinois man was sentenced to 13 months in prison for his role as administrator of stresser services that launched millions of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The man, Sergiy P. Usatyuk, 21, of Orland Park, Illinois, pled guilty earlier this year to owning, administering, and supporting booter services and booter-related websites between August 2015 and November 2017.

These services include ExoStress.in, QuezStresser.com, Betabooter.com, Databooter.com, Instabooter.com, Polystress.com, and Zstress.net.

Usatyuk worked with a co-conspirator to build, control, and operate these services and to launch DDoS attacks on victim computers in the United States and elsewhere. The attacks disrupted the Internet connections of victim systems, slowed down websites or rendered them inaccessible, and disrupted normal business operations.

Usatyuk and his co-conspirator made over $550,000 from renting the stresser services to paying customers and from selling advertising space to other booter operators.

Booters or stressers are publicly available services through which miscreants can launch DDoS attacks against a target of their choice in an effort to knock them offline.

Cybercriminals often only require a web browser and an online payment method to subscribe to a service, and then they can give instructions on what systems should be targeted, the United States Department of Justice notes.

Systems that were not directly targeted were also harmed in the attacks launched by booters Usatyuk operated.

In November 2016, a series of DDoS attacks launched using Betabooter against a school district in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also affected the computers of 17 organizations on the same infrastructure, such as other school districts, the county government, the county’s career and technology centers, and a Catholic diocese.

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