Threat Management, Incident Response, TDR, Threat Management

ETA hacking group member pleads guilty to DDoS against security researcher

Benjamin Earnest Nichols, a 37-year-old man from Oklahoma City, faces a 10-year federal prison sentence for launching a DDoS attack against the website owned by a security researcher.

Nichols pleaded guilty to causing the transmission of a program or code to a protected computer under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). He was a member of the hacker group Electronik Tribulation Army (ETA), according to a statement released by the FBI.

Nichols's DDoS attack against the website caused its owner, security researcher Wesley McGrew, $5,000 to $6,500 in damages over the course of a year. In addition to the DDoS attack, Nichols admitted to harassing the researcher by setting up a fake website under McGrew's name and he posted photo-shopped images of McGrew, ordered sex toys to his home, and used an internet relay chat bot to spew profane insults at McGrew.

Nichols has not been sentenced yet and a sentencing date is not scheduled yet.

The hacking group's leader Jesse McGraw, aka GhostExodus, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for planting malicious code on remote-controlled computers at a medical center.

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