A Florida man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to hacking into computer systems at two major universities as part of establishing a “bot” network of compromised computers from which he could launch distributed denial of service attacks on computers and networks attached to the Internet.
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Sharon E. Ormsby, Acting Special Agent In Charge of the Boston Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that John Bombard, age 32, of Seminole, Florida pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to two counts of Intentionally Accessing a Protected Computer Without Authorization.
At yesterday’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the Government’s evidence would have proven that in June, 2004, John Bombard intentionally accessed, without permission, computer systems at Columbia University in New York and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. On those computer systems was a program, which had been placed on the computers without permission, that enabled Bombard to communicate with a network of computers he controlled in various locations on the Internet. On several occasions, Bombard nstructed his network of computers to flood computers or networks he targeted with so many requests for attention at the same time, that they were simply overwhelmed and disabled trying to respond. One attack cost a Cambridge-based company in excess of $41,000 in response costs and lost revenue.
Judge Saris scheduled sentencing for March 7, 2007. Bombard faces up to 2 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release, and a $100,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen P. Heymann, in Sullivan’s Computer Crime Unit.