A 15-year-old Canadian youth, known online as Mafiaboy, has been arrested for allegedly taking part in the high profile denial of service attacks in February.
The attacks disabled a number of sites, including CNN.com, Yahoo, Amazon.com and eBay.com, for several hours.
Mafiaboy, who under Canadian law cannot be named, was formally charged with two counts of mischief for disabling the CNN website for four hours, the police said. Authorities have seized computers and software equipment at the youth's home in Montreal.
The accused was released on an undisclosed amount of bail, but with strict restrictions that he use a computer only for academic purposes and under the supervision of a teacher. He is also prohibited from connecting to the internet or frequenting stores that sell computers or computer equipment.
Investigators claimed they traced the attacks to Mafiaboy by examining the log files of a computer at a University of California Santa Barbara research lab that was allegedly among those used to attack CNN.com.
The FBI obtained chat room logs allegedly showing that Mafiaboy had asked others what sites he should take down before they were attacked. Inspector Yves Roussel of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the youth had boasted in internet chat rooms frequented by hackers that he was responsible for a number of the attacks but has so far only been charged for the attack on CNN.com.
"The investigation has given authorities the opportunity to shed light on internet attacks that have strongly shaken the heart of electronic commerce worldwide, causing losses that were evaluated at many hundred millions of US dollars," said the Canadian police.
US Attorney General Janet Reno said the arrest demonstrates the ability to ultimately track down alleged perpetrators wherever they may be. "There has got to be a remedy and there has got to be a penalty," she said.
The case was conducted jointly by the computer investigation unit of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Justice Department.
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