October 6, 2008

FBI Seeks European Hackers

The FBI is looking for two alleged hackers for their involvement in a series of attacks on a computer network belonging to Web retailers.

According to the FBI, Briton Lee Graham Walker and Axel Gembe of Germany are responsible for carrying out Denial of Service attacks that took two satellite TV equipment retailers offline.

Both men are accused of "one count of conspiracy and one count of intentionally damaging a computer system".

The attacks targeted two shops that sell digital video recorders and TV satellite equipment: Miami-based Rapid Satellite and Los Angeles-based Weaknees.

The FBI claims that Gembe created a virus, called Agobot, to hijack a network of personal computers. Walker allegedly used the network of hijacked computers, or botnet, to overwhelm the web shops with false information.

Gembe was tried for the creation of Agobot in Germany in 2004 and received a probationary sentence.

If convicted the men face a maximum 15-year jail sentence. Both men are believed to be still at large.

The indictment is linked to another case in which two men, Jay Echouafni and Paul Ashley, were charged with conspiracy for the same attack.

Mr Ashley has pleaded guilty and served two years in prison for his crimes. The FBI said Mr Echouafni is a fugitive that is being actively sought.

In October 2003 the attacks caused both Rapid Satellite and Weaknees to go offline for two weeks. One of the retailers spent $200,000 to recover from the attack.


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