An Orland Park, IL, man pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to cause damage to Internet-connected computers for his role in owning, administering, and supporting illegal booter services that launched millions of illegal distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the United States and elsewhere.
The illegal services included ExoStress.in, (“ExoStresser”), QuezStresser.com, Betabooter.com (“Betabooter”), Databooter.com, Instabooter.com, Polystress.com, and Zstress.net, according to officials at the Department of Justice (DoJ). ExoStresser advertised in September 2017 it launched 1,367,610 DDoS attacks and causing 109,186.4 hours of network downtime.
Sergiy P. Usatyuk, 20, pleaded guilty to working with a co-conspirator to develop and operate multiple booter services and booter-related services between August 2015 and November 2017.
Booters or stressers are web-based services that allow cybercriminals to launch DDoS attacks that flood targeted systems with unrequested traffic, causing them to drop from the Internet. DDoS attacks also impact computer systems that are not targeted directly.
“For over two years, Sergiy Usatyuk conspired to launch millions of DDoS attacks that paralyzed the computer systems of U.S. organizations for more than 100,000 hours,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski. “The Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in protecting the American public by prosecuting the cybercriminals responsible for these sophisticated and harmful schemes.”
Usatyuk and a co-conspirator reportedly made over $550,000 from charging subscriber fees to paying customers of their booter services, as well as from selling advertising space to other booter operators.
“DDoS-for-hire services pose a malicious threat to the citizens of our district, as well as districts across the country, by impeding critical access to the internet and jeopardizing safety and security in the process,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. “The operation and use of these services to disrupt the operations of our businesses and other institutions cannot be tolerated. Anyone who weaponizes web traffic in this manner will be vigorously pursued and prosecuted by my office.”