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Press Release

North Carolina Man Charged with 2016 Cyber Attack Affecting Internet Users in Plattsburgh

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Thomas A. Johnson, age 24, of Boone, North Carolina, has been charged with perpetrating a March 2016 distributed denial of service (“DDOS”) attack that disrupted internet access for thousands of Plattsburgh-area internet customers.

The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

DDOS attacks target websites and online services. The attacker causes the targeted server or network to be overwhelmed by more internet traffic than the server or network can typically accommodate, which renders the affected server or network inoperable for a period of time until service can be restored. The charges in the information are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Johnson is charged with intentionally causing damage to a protected computer, a misdemeanor. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $100,000, and a term of supervised release of up to a year. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Johnson was arraigned today in Albany before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart. He was ordered released pending further proceedings.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily C. Powers.

Updated March 25, 2021