Two teens have been charged for allegedly conspiring to launch destructive cyber attacks around the world and trafficking payment accounts stolen from unsuspecting victims in Illinois.
Federal authorities announced Wednesday that Zachary Buchta, 19, of Fallston, Maryland, and Bradley Jan Willem Van Rooy, 19, of the Netherlands, were charged with conspiring to cause damage to protected computers.
The charges stem from an international investigation into the computer hacking groups “Lizard Squad” and “PoodleCorp,” according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Buchta was arrested last month in Maryland and was scheduled to appear in court in Chicago at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities in the Netherlands arrested van Rooy last month and he remains in custody there, officials said. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys.
Four domain names tied to the alleged conspiracy were ordered seized as part of the investigation: shenron.lizardsquad.org, lizardsquad.org, stresser.poodlecorp.org, and poodlecorp.org.
Authorities said Lizard Squad initially garnered the attention of authorities during an investigation into phonebomber.net, which let customers name people who would receive repeated harassing phone calls from spoofed numbers. One victim in Illinois last fall received a phone call every hour for thirty days, the complaint states. The phone call was an audio recording that stated the victim “better look over your [expletive] back because I don’t flying [expletive] if we have to burn your [expletive] house down, if we have to [expletive] track your [expletive] family down, we will [expletive] your [expletive] up [expletive].”
Buchta, van Rooy and other members of Lizard Squad allegedly started “denial-of-serive attacks,” which overload websites with a high volume of attacks, targeting gaming, entertainment and media companies shortly after the launch of the phonebomber.net site.
The teens are also accused of conspiring with other members of Lizard Squad to operate websites that provided cyber-attack-for-hire services, which facilitated thousands of denial-of-service attacks, and trafficked stolen payment card account information for thousands of victims, according to the complaint.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.