Comcast.net Hacker Sentenced To Four Months In Prison

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A federal court Monday sentenced a Washington man who went by the hacker nom de guerre "Defiant" to four months in prison for his role in disrupting access to Comcast's Web portal in May 2008.

James Robert Black Jr., 21, of Tumwater, Wash., received the prison time plus four months of electronic home monitoring, 150 hours of community service and three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $128,557 in restitution for the attack. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Wash.

Federal law-enforcement officials charged Black -- along with two other men, Allen Lewis, a.k.a. "EBK," 19, of Newark, Del., and Michael Paul Nebel, a.k.a. "Slacker," 27, of Kalamazoo, Mich. -- with "conspiring to disrupt service" by redirecting visitors to Comcast.net on May 28 and 29, 2008, which authorities said resulted in a loss to the cable operator of approximately $128,000.

The three were accused of operating as the hacker group Kryogeniks, which redirected Comcast customers to a site on which contained only a message that read, "KRYOGENIKS Defiant and EBK RoXed COMCAST sHouTz to VIRUS Warlock elul21 coll1er seven."

"Mr. Black and his Kryogenicks [sic] crew created risks to all of these millions of e-mail customers for the simple sake of boosting their own childish egos," Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma wrote to the court prior to sentencing. "The callous disregard of the dangers posed to others, as well as the arrogance and recklessness displayed by these and other hackers in committing such crimes should be considered by the Court as a factor that weighs in favor of a significant prison sentence."

Comcast declined to comment. Both Lewis and Nebel have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Black faced a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment and up to three years of supervised release following any imprisonment, according to the FBI.

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