Anonymous takedown of Koch sites leads to indictment of Wisconsin man

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A Kansas grand jury has indicted a man on charges that he participated in an Anonymous-led distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on an oil-and-manufacturing giant's websites.

On Tuesday, Eric Rosol, 37, of Black Creek, Wis., was charged with one count of damaging a protected computer and one count of conspiring to do so against Koch Industries websites in 2011. If convicted, Rosol could face up to 10 years in federal prison and $500,000 in fines.

“Beginning in approximately February of 2011, Anonymous began using Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels to advertise a dedicated denial-of-service attack against Koch Industries, and seeking participants in such an attack,” the indictment said. 

As a result of the attacks, Koch Industries sites www.kochind.com and www.quiltednorthern.com crashed on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, 2011, making them “unavailable for legitimate traffic,” the indictment alleged.  

Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kan.-based corporation, is one of the largest privately held companies in the country and is owned by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Hacktivist group Anonymous targeted the corporation in a campaign, called “Operation Wisconsin,” for allegedly trying to “gain a monopoly over the state's power supplies,” a press release from Anonymous read during the 2011 DDoS attacks.

“Kock Industries and oligarchs like them have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin,” Anonymous claimed at the time.

A Reuters deputy social media editor also faces 10 years in prison for allegedly conspiring with Anonymous – in this case to deface a Los Angeles Times website. Matthew Keys, 26, denied he provided hacktivists with server login credentials for the Tribune Co., where he was once employed.

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