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Operator of 'DownThem' DDoS Service Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison

The operator of an infamous service that allowed users to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks was sentenced on Monday to 24 months in prison.

The man, Matthew Gatrel, 33, of St. Charles, Illinois, was convicted in September 2021 on three counts of computer-related and wire fraud felonies.

According to court documents, Gatrel owned and operated DownThem.org – a website that allowed users to purchase subscriptions to launch powerful DDoS attacks – and AmpNode.com, which provided bulletproof hosting services to paying customers, and which also facilitated server spoofing and DDoS attack amplification.

Records obtained when DownThem was taken down in 2018 showed that the DDoS attack (or booting) service had roughly 2,000 users and had been used to launch over 200,000 attacks on targets such as government websites, financial institutions, schools, universities, and homes.

Gatrel offered customer support for both DownThem and AmpNode, providing users with guidance on how to launch DDoS attacks on different types of systems and on how to bypass DDoS protection services. He also used the service to demonstrate its DDoS capabilities.

DownThem provided customers with multiple subscription plans, differentiated in price and attack capability, some allowing users to launch several simultaneous attacks.

Juan Martinez, 29, of Pasadena, a co-administrator of DownThem and co-defendant in the case, who pleaded guilty in August 2021, was sentenced to five years’ probation.

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