A teenager who took part in a distributed denial-of-service attack against the so-called Church of Scientology has been charged.
Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, is accused of helping in the attack on Scientology servers in January.
He has agreed to plead guilty to a single felony charge of unauthorised impairment of a protected computer and to pay $37,500 in damages.
Guzner identifies himself as a member of an online group called 'Anonymous'. The group is a loose collection of internet activists which has claimed responsibility for the Scientology attack, the tracking of suspected paedophile Chris Forcand and the hacking of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's email.
The US Department of Justice has said that Guzner will be put on trial in the coming weeks and could face up to 10 years in prison.
According to court papers Guzner "knowingly caused the transmission of information, codes and commands and, as a result of such conduct, intentionally and without authorisation caused damage by impairing the integrity and availability of data, a program, a system and information on a computer system that was used in interstate and foreign commerce and communications, specifically websites belonging to the Church of Scientology, thereby causing loss to one or more persons aggregating at least $5,000 in value".
The attacks were carried out by a number of people and illustrate the extent to which a small group of individuals can attack organisations with which they have a grievance.
In this case skilled members of the group wrote attack code, which was then sent to ordinary members who implemented the attacks.
At the same time other members sent faxes of pure black paper to the group to use up toner, and spammed phone lines with crank calls.
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