Two men were indicted for hacking charges Thursday related to a 2010 attack on a Santa Cruz County government web site, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Christopher Doyon, 47, of Mountain View and Joshua John Covelli, 26, of Fairborn, Ohio, were charged with damaging a protected computer for allegedly participating in a distributed denial of service attack that brought down Santa Cruz County’s website in December, 2010.
The attack was allegedly in retaliation for arrests in a long-running protest against restrictions on sleeping outside in the city of Santa Cruz. During that demonstration, which ran from July 4, 2010 into October, protesters camped outside the Santa Cruz County Courthouse leading to multiple arrests and citations.
Following the disbandment of the protest by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department, activists with the “People’s Liberation Front” allegedly organized a distributed denial of service attack, which involves multiple systems attacking a computer server, and may be accomplished through the use of back-door programs unknowingly run by other users.
The attack successfully shut down the Santa Cruz County web site on Dec. 16, 2010, according to the indictment. Covelli has also been indicted for allegedly participating in another similar attack on PayPal in the same month. Both defendants could face up to ten years in prison if found guilty, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Covelli’s next court appearance for is scheduled for Nov. 1, while Doyon is next ordered to appear on Sept. 29.
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