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A teen-age computer hacker who jammed major Web sites, raising questions about global Internet security, was sentenced Wednesday to eight months in a detention center and ordered to donate $250 Canadian ($165 U.S.) to charity. Dressed in an untucked beige shirt and matching cotton pants, the 17-year-old — who cannot be identified under Canadian law but is known by the Internet nickname Mafiaboy — showed no reaction as the sentence was read. Judge Gilles Ouellet said the youth showed a “high degree of preparation and premeditation” in carrying out attacks on Internet sites, including Amazon and CNN. “The motivation was undeniable. The adolescent had a criminal intent,” Ouellet said. The youth pleaded guilty earlier this year to 58 charges related to attacks and security breaches of Internet sites in Canada, the United States, Denmark and Korea in February 2000. He was 15 at the time of the crimes and faced a maximum sentence of two years of youth detention. An adult convicted of the same charges could receive a 10-year sentence. Mafiaboy admitted involvement in denial-of-service attacks last year against Web sites belonging to five companies, including Amazon, Dell and eBay, Yahoo and CNN. The sites were bombarded with thousands of simultaneous messages, which prevented legitimate users from accessing them for up to five hours. Other charges involved illegal use of computers to help with the attacks. Those computers were located at various universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Massachusetts. At a sentencing hearing last month, the youth’s parents asked Ouellet to spare him from further detention. Ouellet, though, rejected arguments by Mafiaboy’s lawyer that the youth merely wanted to test the security systems of Internet sites, saying the attacks were too long and severe to be a mere test. He ordered the youth to serve one year of probation after his detention, recommending he be allowed to attend school and hold a part-time job during the probation. Kevin Schmidt, network programmer at the University of California at Santa Barbara, one of the victims of Mafiaboy’s hacking, said the case showed authorities will prosecute hackers. “I’m pleased by the fact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and FBI demonstrated this type of activity can be tracked and a successful prosecution can result,” he said. “This is perhaps more important than the actual sentence since many hackers don’t seem to believe they’ll ever be prosecuted.” Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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