Daybreak Games Hacker Gets Sentenced to Prison

Daybreak Games
(Photo: Daybreak Games)

The Utah man who was charged with launching a denial of service attack against Sony Online Entertainment years ago has now been handed a prison sentence. Austin Thompson, 23, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison and will also have to pay $95,000 in restitution to Daybreak Games, the company which was formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment back when the deliberate computer attacks took place in 2013-14.

Thompson, as some may recall if they're familiar with the events that transpired years ago, was behind DoS attacks that targeted what was then Sony Online Entertainment as well as other services like Blizzard's Battle.net. These attacks "flooded his victims' servers with enough internet traffic to take them offline," according to the Department of Justice's release about the case, and warranted Thompson being charged with Damage to a Protected Computer. It was during that time when the servers went down that the $95,000 in damages was incurred.

If you're unfamiliar with the origins of this case, you may instead recall hearing that Thompson plead guilty to the charge in November 2018. The maximum penalty this charge could carry is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson catalogued the effects of the attack on Twitter through the DerpTrolling account during the years that they took place. Multiple tweets were shared in quick succession throughout January 1, 2014, where he at one point said "Our boys" were targeting specific servers. The Department of Justice confirmed that Thompson was indeed the individual behind the Twitter account and used it to post both alerts for and evidence of the attacks.

"Thompson typically used the Twitter account @DerpTrolling to announce that an attack was imminent and then posted 'scalps' (screenshots or other photos showing that victims' servers had been taken down) after the attack," the release said. "The attacks took down game servers and related computers around the world, often for hours at a time. According to the plea agreement, Thompson's actions caused at least $95,000 in damages."

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Thompson will have to surrender to authorities on August 23rd at which point his sentence will then begin. He's currently free on bond.

Thanks, Polygon.