In 2010, European World of Warcraft servers were the targets of a series of DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks. Now, eight years later, the perpetrator has been sentenced to a year in United States federal prison.
Loot disputes and team drama
In a period between February and March in 2010, European World of Warcraft servers were under attack. A Romanian man named Calin Mateias launched a series of DDoS attacks against the servers. DDoS attacks are a form of cyber attack which makes a machine or network resource unavailable by flooding it with false requests. The difference between a DDoS and a DoS attack is that a DDoS sends traffic from multiple sources. Because Blizzard is an American-based company, the FBI assisted in an investigation on the attack. Although Mateias was indicted for the attacks in 2011, he was only extradited to the US for trial last year. He has been in American custody since November 20 of last year.
Mateias officially plead guilty to one count of intentional damage to a protected computer. Protected computers, as defined by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, are computers “…used in interstate or foreign commerce and communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.” As part of the plea deal, charges for an attempted hack and robbery of Ingram Micro in 2004 were dropped. Official sources say that the DDoS attacks were provoked to in-game frustrations with other players, including “…the division of loot and membership in raid teams.” Mateias also must pay (and according to NBC Los Angles, has paid) $29,987 restitution to Blizzard for the labor costs required to counter the attack.
As part of the investigation, the US Department of Justice released a statement, which nicely summarizes the case.