Arizona Man Sentenced to Prison for Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Emergency Communications System and Other Municipal Websites
An Arizona man was sentenced yesterday in Phoenix, Arizona, for directing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks at the computer networks of the City of Madison, Wisconsin, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange for the District of Arizona.
Randall Charles Tucker, aka “Bitcoin Baron,” 23, of Apache Junction, Arizona, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes of the District of Arizona. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $69,331.56 to the victims of his computer attacks. Tucker pleaded guilty on April 17, 2017 to one count of intentional damage to a protected computer.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, between March 9 and March 14, 2015, Tucker executed a series of DDoS attacks against various city websites, including Madison, Wisconsin. A DDoS attack is a malicious attack where illegitimate network traffic is used to slow down or altogether crash a computer server, thereby denying service to legitimate users of the server. In addition to disabling the City of Madison’s website, the attack crippled the city’s Internet-connected emergency communication system, causing delays and outages in the ability of emergency responders to connect to the 911 center and degrading the system used to automatically dispatch the closest unit to a medical, fire, or other emergency. Tucker, referring to himself as the “Bitcoin Baron,” boasted about his attacks via social media.
This case was investigated by FBI’s Milwaukee and Phoenix Field Offices and Arizona’s Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Knapp of the District of Arizona and Trial Attorney Laura-Kate Bernstein of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin also provided substantial assistance in this manner.