What just happened? A Dutch hacker who built a DDoS bot to extort $150,000 from multiple victims has avoided a prison sentence after admitting his crimes and apologizing.
In 2016 and 2017 a hacker was actively targeting major websites like the BBC and Yahoo News with DDoS attacks and Mirai-based malware. Over the course of 12 months, they allegedly extorted around $150,000 through attacking and subsequently making ransom demands. In October 2017, a suspect was caught and the attacks stopped.
That suspect is now known to the world simply as 'S.'. S. was a minor when he committed the crimes, so the Dutch court has not released his name even though he is aged 20 now.
ZDNet reports that S. "showed remorse in court, admitted to his crimes ... and apologized for his actions." As such, instead of a prison sentence, S. received 120 hours of community service. He had already spent some time in juvenile detention, which was factored in as time served.
During the course of the court proceedings, S. told the judge that he had begun hacking aged 13 or 14, and he had started the DDoS and ransom attacks because his parents weren't able to financially support him. According to Zdnet, S. "is now involved in cryptocurrency mining and speculation."
The prosecution had sought a 2-year prison sentence and damage payments on top. But his apology seems to have convinced the judge that prison is not the answer here. Currently S. has been set free on a 360-day conditional release, provided he does not break any other laws.