DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Internet

Plea Deal Struck Over Attack On Kiss Web Sites

Assault prompted by Gene Simmons comments

Gene Simmons

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Simmons DDoS Plea

FEBRUARY 5--A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to participating in a coordinated online attack on Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, whose web sites were targeted in retaliation for comments the rock star made about Internet piracy.

The October 2010 denial of service attack against genesimmons.com and two other sites--which were knocked offline--was spearheaded by the online collective “Anonymous,” which dubbed its Simmons assault “Operation Payback.”

The musician, 63, upset “Anonymous” and its various sympathizers when he advised entertainment industry figures to “sue everybody, take their houses, their cars. The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn't have the balls to sue every freckle-faced kid who downloaded tracks.”

The FBI opened a criminal probe after a Simmons lawyer, Barry Mallen, reported the denial of service attack to federal investigators.

During a hearing last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Kevin George Poe, 25, pleaded guilty to his role in the Simmons attack. Poe, known online as “spydr101,” copped to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. FBI agents determined that Poe’s computer swamped the genesimmons.com web site with 69,000 requests during the denial of service attack.

Poe, pictured in the above mug shot, was originally indicted last year on two felony charges--conspiracy and computer impairment--that carried a combined maximum of 15 years in prison. However, as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Poe was named in a superseding criminal information that only charged him with the reduced impairment count.

The plea deal notes that prosecutors will not oppose Poe’s request at sentencing--set for June 10--that he receive probation instead of incarceration. Government lawyers could, however, ask that a probation term include a maximum of six months of home detention. The misdemeanor to which Poe pleaded carries a maximum one-year prison term.

While Poe’s indictment alleges that he conspired with “others known and unknown” to a federal grand jury, Poe appears to be the only individual charged with participating in the Simmons attack.

The only other suspect to be identified was a Washington State boy whose home was searched by FBI agents in April 2011. The high school student, who was 15 when his residence was raided, was a 4chan habitué whose Facebook page carried the nickname “herpderpity” and listed “Trolling” as the teen’s favorite sport. (4 pages)