Teenager pleads guilty to botnet, 'swatting' charges

A 16-year-old Massachusetts boy has pleaded guilty to running a botnet and "swatting" victims with hoax emergency telephone calls.

A Boston-area teenager has pleaded guilty to charges of hacking and placing fake emergency phone calls in hopes of summoning police tactical response teams to the homes of his victims.

The 16-year-old boy, who was not named by authorities because he is a juvenile, was known by his hacker name, Dshocker. In a plea-bargain agreement, he accepted an 11-month juvenile detention facility sentence and pleaded guilty to hacking and fraud charges stemming from his activities that stretched back to 2005, when he was about 13 years old.

The U.S. Department of Justice claims that the boy launched cyber attacks from a botnet of several thousand infected computers he controlled and also used stolen credit cards.

He was also charged with "swatting," a form of telephone hacking that has been on the FBI's radar lately. Swatters use legal phone-spoofing cards to make it appear as though they are dialing 911 emergency dispatch lines from the addresses of their victims. Swatting takes its name from the acronym SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), used to describe elite police tactical response teams.

The idea is to disrupt the lives of people they don't like by having SWAT teams suddenly show up at their doors.

Dshocker's "swatting activities created a serious risk of physical harm to innocent victims, and the multiple bomb threats caused extensive disruptions to important public services," the Department of Justice said in a statement released Tuesday.

An adult charged with these offenses would be facing 10 years in prison, the statement said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimebotnets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?