When I think about who might be responsible for nearly two million attacks on websites and services costing companies millions of dollars, I’m not sure who I picture. But it’s not Adam Mudd, the teen responsible for 1.7 million attacks on services like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. According to The Guardian, Mudd has been sentenced to two years in prison for his hacking-related crimes.
Mudd was 16 when he created the Titanium Stresser program, which has been used by more than 112,000 users against “about 666,000” IP addresses. Mudd raked in almost half a million dollars in money and bitcoins from those using his program. An attack on his own university cost the school over $2,500 just to investigate the hack, on top of all the lost productivity and any other damages that may have been caused indirectly by his activity. The fantasy game RuneScape was another of Mudd’s targets, and The Guardian says Mudd’s attacks resulted in a revenue loss of over $230,000. The company spent an additional $7.5 million beefing up security as a result of the attacks. While that money may have been spent eventually, Mudd forced the issue.
The cyber world of online gaming
Mudd’s attorney characterized him as someone more interested in status and finding a community than in the material gains resulting from the program. Now 20, Mudd was arrested when he was 18, and was still living with his parents at the time. His attorney asked for a suspended sentence, explaining that Mudd “had been sucked into the cyber world of online gaming and was ‘lost in an alternate reality’ after withdrawing from school because of bullying.” Mudd has been offline for two years, which his attorney called “an unhappy time” for the defendant, “during which he suffered greatly.”
The judge refused, stating a duty to the public who are “worried about this, damaged by this all the time.” And come on, ‘the cyber world of online gaming?’ Is this an episode of Law & Order?
Despite that seeming commitment to punishing Mudd, his sentence is the two years listed above. The Guardian lists services like Minecraft, Xbox Live, and TeamSpeak among those targeted. With so many companies and people affected by his program, a two-year sentence seems pretty light. At least we’re still seeing a hacker held accountable for their crimes.