Missouri Man Cops Plea In "Anonymous" Cyberattack On Billionaire GOP Benefactors
A Missouri man has admitted organizing and participating in an “Anonymous” cyberattack on billionaire Republican benefactors Charles and David Koch, an online assault for which he will plead guilty next month, according to court records.
In a plea agreement struck with Department of Justice lawyers, Christopher Sudlik acknowledged his role in early-2011 distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on several Koch-related web sites. As part of the deal, a copy of which was filed this week in U.S. District Court, prosecutors have agreed to recommend that Sudlik be sentenced to two years probation on the misdemeanor charge.
Sudlik is pictured above flanked by brothers David (left) and Charles Koch.
The Koch attacks were launched by confederates of “Anonymous,” the online hacktivist group that targeted the wealthy industrialists for their support of union-busting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. The “Anonymous” action was dubbed “Operation Wisconsin” and sought to exploit “online loopholes and vulnerabilities into the systems and servers related to” the Koch brothers and Walker.
The DDoS attacks were aimed at the Koch Industries corporate web site as well as separate sites for Quilted Northern and Angel Soft toilet paper, two brands owned by the multinational firm. Sudlik admitted attacking the Angel Soft web site by trying to access it more than 24,000 times over a 30-minute period. A DDos attack seeks to flood a target with so many requests that it leaves the site unavailable for legitimate visitors.
Aided by Koch Industries, FBI agents connected Sudlik--who uses the online handle “The_Hatchet”--to the Angel Soft attack. When confronted by investigators, Sudlik admitted that he “intentionally participated” in the DDoS operation, according to the plea agreement. Additionally, Koch officials provided the FBI with Internet Relay Chat logs for the #opwisconsin channel that included “chat conversations involving “The_Hatchet” and the organization of the DDoS attack.”
Sudlik is scheduled for an October 4 arraignment and plea hearing in federal court in Green Bay, Wisconsin (where the Quilted Northern and Angel Soft web servers are located). In addition to recommending a no-jail sentence, federal prosecutors want a judge to bar Sudlik from associating with any “Anonymous” members or other groups involved in “denial of service or other cyber-attacks.”
Sudlik is the second individual charged in connection with the Koch Industries attacks. Eric Rosol, a 37-year-old Kansas man, was indicted earlier this year for felony conspiracy and causing damage to a computer (the misdemeanor to which Sudlik has copped). Rosol is scheduled next week for a change of plea hearing, at which he is expected to plead guilty to the lesser count.