Prolific hacker imprisoned for facilitating millions of DDoS attacks

Sergiy Usatyuk, a 21-year-old hacker, has been sentenced to 13 months in prison in the U.S. for owning, administering and supporting illegal booter services that launched millions of DDoS attacks on computer systems in the U.S. and in other countries.

The sentencing was carried out by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina who also ordered Sergiy Usatyuk to forfeit $542,925 and to hand over dozens of servers and other computer equipment that were used to sdminister booter services and launch a number of DDoS attacks.

"Usatyuk combined with a co-conspirator to develop, control and operate a number of booter services and booter-related websites from around August 2015 through November 2017 that launched millions of DDoS attacks that disrupted the internet connections of targeted victim computers, rendered targeted websites slow or inaccessible, and interrupted normal business operations," said the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Sergiy Usatyuk was arrested by U.S. authorities in March this year for running as many as eight DDoS booter services which were used by other hackers to launch 3,829,812 DDoS attacks between 2015 and 2017.

He ran several DDoS booter services such as ExoStress.in, QuezStresser.com, Betabooter.com, Databooter.com, Instabooter.com, Polystress.com, Zstress.net, and Decafestresser aside from a couple of booter-affiliated websites Bestipstressers.com and Ipstressers.org that promoted the booters online and also advertised other booter services.

Sergiy Usatyuk ran multiple DDoS booter services as a teenager

The DDoS booter services run by Usatyuk and a Canadian co-conspirator were immensely popular on hacker forums, so much so that Exostresser alone was used to carry out as many as 1,367,610 DDoS attacks on organisations, inflicting over 4,500 days of downtime on targeted organisations.

Usatyuk earned over $550,000 and 10.74 Bitcoin by offering such DDoS booter services for hire over a 27-month period and he also exploited third-party "amplification servers" without their owners' consent to amplify unauthorised web traffic against targeted organisations.

"This sentence demonstrates the FBI’s continuous commitment to unmasking malicious actors behind these type of egregious cyberattacks. By calling out those criminals who hide behind their computer and launch attacks, the FBI is sending a strong message that we will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to investigate and hold all criminals accountable, no matter what weapon they use to terrorize others,” said Special Agent in Charge John Strong of the FBI’s North Carolina Field Office.

Following Usatyuk's sentencing, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said that Usatyuk made hundreds of thousands of dollars by launching countless indiscriminate cyber-attacks that victimized various segments of American society.

"The Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in protecting the American public from these types of sophisticated, far-reaching threats," he added.

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