DOWNTOWN — Federal prosecutors in Chicago charged two men with a string of notorious computer hacks, alleging they were tied to the so-called Lizard Squad that claimed responsibility for taking down such big name games at "World of Warcraft" and "League of Legends."
Zachary Buchta, 19, of Maryland, and Bradley Jan Willem van Rooy, 19, of the Netherlands, have been charged with conspiring to cause damage to protected computers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago.
Buchta and van Rooy were connected to the hacking groups Lizard Squad and PoodleCorp and were part of "destructive cyber attacks around the world," prosecutors said.
Lizard Squad created PhoneBomber.net, a site that allowed customers to pay to have victims called repeatedly with harassing messages, prosecutors said.
One of the victims of Phone Bomber was from Illinois. He or she was called every hour for 30 days, with a message telling the victim, "When you walk the f---ing streets, motherf---er, you better look over your f---ing back because I don't flying f-- if we have to burn your f---ing house down, if we have to f---ing track your god------ family down, we will f--- your s--- up motherf---," prosecutors said.
Those attacks cost $20 a month, prosecutors said, and the organizers used random phone numbers to call victims so they couldn't block the calls.
Lizard Squad and PoodleCorp also were involved in multiple distributed denial of service attacks, targeting entertainment and media companies, among others, prosecutors said. Those attacks, known as DDoS attacks, can crash websites. Buchta, van Rooy and other members of Lizard Squad sold their services to customers, leading to thousands of DDoS attacks, through a website known as Shenron, prosecutors said.
Members also sold stolen credit card information and took over online accounts, prosecutors said, and Shenron customers bought hundreds of payment cards.
Lizard Squad members bragged about their activities on Twitter and also used social media to organize the DDoS attacks, prosecutors said. On Twitter, where he was known as @FBIarelosers, Buchta described himself as the "leader of Lizard Squad," prosecutors said, and in private messages Buchta claimed responsibility for at least one attack.
"Wat part about ddosing 1 of the [world's] biggest companies is casual?" one person asked Buchta in a private message on Twitter.
"Because it is so easy for us to do ...," Buchta wrote back, prosecutors said.
Lizard Squad temporarily brought down servers for World of Warcraft, one of the most popular multiplayer games, causing damages "well in excess of $5,000" and making a significant impact on the company's work, prosecutors said. The group noted attacks on World of Warcraft and other games on Twitter:
More to come.— Lizard Squad (@LizardLands) 14 April 2016
Members of Lizard Squad also became involved in PoodleCorp, a hacking group that emerged in June, prosecutors said. PoodleCorp also sold DDoS attacks to customers, prosecutors said.
Buchta was arrested in Maryland and will appear in court in Chicago on Wednesday, while van Rooy was arrested in the Netherlands and remains in custody there.
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