News and Press Releases

TUMWATER, WASHINGTON MAN INDICTED IN CONNECTION WITH COMCAST HACKING
Defendant and Two Others Accused of Disrupting Comcast Service in May 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2009

JAMES ROBERT BLACK, JR., a.k.a. ‘Defiant’, 20, of Tumwater, Washington will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Tacoma tomorrow, November 24, 2009, on an indictment from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. BLACK is charged with conspiring to disrupt service at Comcast Corporation’s www.comcast.net website on May 28 and 29, 2008. BLACK will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura at 2:30 tomorrow.

BLACK is charged in the conspiracy along with CHRISTOPHER ALLEN LEWIS, a.k.a. EBK,19, of Newark, Delaware, and MICHAEL PAUL NEBEL, a.k.a. Slacker, 27, of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The three were associated with the hacker group Kryogeniks. The indictment charges that on May 28, 2008, LEWIS, BLACK, and NEBEL used their hacking skills to redirect all traffic destined for the www.comcast.net website to websites that they had established. As a result, Comcast customers trying to read their e-mail or listen to their voice mail were sent to a website on which the only thing that they could find was a message that read “KRYOGENIKS Defiant and EBK RoXed COMCAST sHouTz to VIRUS Warlock elul21 coll1er seven.”

Approximately five million people per day connected to the Comcast website in May of 2008. These acts resulted in a loss to Comcast of approximately $128,000. The diversion prompted an intensive FBI investigation that resulted in today’s charges. Comcast Corporation cooperated in this investigation.

At the time the Comcast site was hacked, BLACK was residing in Tennessee. He has since relocated to Tumwater, Washington.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and up to 3 years of supervised release following any imprisonment. In addition, the court could order the defendants to pay restitution.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Albert S. Glenn and Alexander T.H. Nguyen in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In the Western District of Washington, Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma will handle the initial appearance. Ms. Warma heads up the Western Washington U.S. Attorney’s Office efforts against cyber crime.

A copy of the indictment from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is linked to this press release on our website at http://www.justice.gov/usao/waw/.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

(Download Indictment )

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