A 19-year-old Brit will be doing time after making bomb threats against schools and claiming an airline flight was hijacked.
George Duke-Cohan, 19, targeted thousands of schools and other organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom for bomb threats, which resulted in evacuations. He also made a prank call claiming that a United Airlines flight traveling from the UK to San Francisco had been hijacked.
As a result of those crimes, he got three years in prison after his guilty pleas.
The prank call targeting San Francisco airport was made while Duke-Cohan was on bail following his arrest, which during that time he was not allowed to use electronic devices.
He has now been sentenced to one year in prison for the bomb hoaxes targeting schools, and two years for the airport incident.
While the charges brought against Duke-Cohan in the UK focused on the pranks, the teen was said to be the leader of Apophis Squad, a group that not only made bomb threats, but also launched DDoS attacks and offered DDoS-for-hire services.
The DDoS attack targets included security blogger Brian Krebs, the DEF CON security conference, government organizations in several countries, and the encrypted email provider Protonmail, which helped authorities identify Duke-Cohan and other members of his group.
Before sentencing, the judge noted Duke-Cohan’s early guilty pleas, his age, no prior criminal record and, to a limited extent, his “functioning deficiencies which have contributed to a diagnosis of autism,” were taken into consideration. However, these mitigating factors only helped his case to a certain degree.
“You knew exactly what you were doing and why you were doing it, and you knew full well the havoc that would follow,” Judge Richard Foster said in a published report. “What you did was far removed from anything that could be described as naivety or a cry for help from a sick person.”