A teenager received no prison time after launching a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against an Australian bank, among other targets.
The 15-year-old boy, who by state law cannot have his name identified, admitted in court he had some fun and satisfied his curiosity when he DDoSed the online banking portal for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest bank.
The attack occurred on 26 February. It disabled the portal for three hours, all the while preventing customers from accessing their accounts online.
The youth wasn’t done, either.
In March, the teenager leveraged his mobile phone to DDoS both his high school’s information technology systems and its internet service provider, reports The Advertiser.
He thought it would be “fun,” he told the court. Plus, he was “bored.”
But luck ultimately ran out for the avid gamer.
On 4 April, the youth had the bright idea to DDoS the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN), a website which multiple Australian law enforcement agencies use to fight computer crime. Perhaps afraid of the consequences, he backed out of the attack after six minutes. That was still more than enough time for law enforcement to track his IP address to his home in Adelaide.
The “highly intelligent” but “naive” youth pleaded guilty to four counts of unauthorized impairment of computer systems on 18 August.
He faced three years in prison for his crimes, yet he won’t be seeing a day of jail time. The court instead sentenced the teen to “mediation” with his family and his victims.
Magistrate Cathy Deland said she made her decision in the interest in the boy’s rehabilitation. As quoted by The Advertiser:
“I don’t know that anyone would be able to put a price on repairing the disruption that you caused. I have no doubt it would have been millions of dollars.
“I have no doubt that you would not have thought much about the consequences. I am in the difficult situation having to weigh up your incredible stupidity against … your rehabilitation.”
I can only hope the boy learns his lesson, understands the severity of his crimes, and does not become a repeat offender. Otherwise, perhaps jail time would be the only way to reach the teenager.
What do you think? Did the boy get off too easily? Let us know in the comments!
News of this sentence follows on the heels of a large DDoS campaign that forced Australian authorities to temporarily suspend the country’s census website.