Denial of service is a malicious attack on an authorized user’s network designed to prevent them from gaining access to information and services. The United States Department of Justice case study, released on their Web site on June 6, 2013, describes a case investigated by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation where a perpetrator launched a denial of service attack against a government computer network. The attack lasted four days and prevented Larimer County employees from accessing email, county records, telephone systems, and online activities by the general public. This paper details the actions taken by law enforcement to apprehend and sentence the attacker.
Denial of service is described as a malicious attack on an authorized user’s network to prevent them from gaining access to information and services. The article, “Former Fort Collins Resident Sentenced For Denial Of Service Attack On Larimer County Government Computers,” is a case study from the United States Department of Justice released on their Web site on June 6, 2013.
The case was investigated by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and involves perpetrator David Joseph Rezendes, who was 27 at the time and is now serving 18 months in federal prison for deliberately damaging a protected computer and for possession of unauthorized access devices (credit card information) (United States Department of Justice, 2013). The records state that an incapacitating denial of service attack was hurled against the Larimer County’s government computer network on September 22, 2010. The attack lasted until September 24, 2010 and a second attack occurred between October 4, 2010 and October 6, 2010 (United States Department of Justice, 2013). The denial of service attacks prevented Larimer County employees from accessing email and county records. The attack also prevented two other departments from accessing telephone systems and the general public’s ability to admittance to online activities.
In a combined effort, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI investigated the attack and carried out a court-authorized search warrant for Mr. Rezendes’ residence. After computers and computer components were seized during the search, case agents with the FBI and Larimer County Sheriff’s Department computer forensics experts performed an in depth analysis on the computers’ data, discovering evidence that Mr. Rezendes had in fact been responsible for the denial of service attacks. In addition, Rezendes also possessed stolen credit card information for more than 100 individuals (United States Department of Justice, 2013).
As a result to his earlier guilty pleas, Rezendes is subject to a criminal asset forfeiture, which meant that he had to turn over the following: 3 desktop computers, 3 laptop computers, 9 computer hard drives, 2 routers, 3 cable modems, a 32GB SDHC card, a USB thumb drive, a Camcorder, a Wi-Fi Network Adapter, and Omni-directional antenna, and a magnetic stripe card reader/writer (United States Department of Justice, 2013).
It may seem ridiculous but Rezendes launched a personal crusade against the Larimer County computer system in the form of a denial of service attack, because he was angry he received a traffic ticket. The outcome affected thousands of people for numerous days and cost Rezendes 18 months in federal prison.
This article emphasizes that no matter the motivation, the FBI is dedicated to hunting down cybercriminals who launch malicious, directed attacks. They will cooperate with local and federal officials who depend on their expertise to take down these criminals. It also signifies that with the assistance of computer forensic specialists, cybercriminals will eventually get caught and answer to their crimes.