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Special Event

Canadian Authorities Hold News Conference on Arrest Made in 'Denial of Service' Cyber-Attacks

Aired April 19, 2000 - 10:39 a.m. ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And we take you live now to Montreal, Quebec. Authorities talking about the arrest of a 15-year-old in connection with a number of cyber-attacks taking place on companies and Web sites here in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Hello everyone and welcome to this press conference. My name is Corporal Leo Margraquette (ph) from the public relations here at the RCMP in Montreal and it gives me great pleasure to meet the press today.

Those people speaking at this press conference will be Master Sergeant Roir (ph) from the Major Crime Section in Montreal, Detective Yves Roussel from the Major Crime Section of the RCMP in Montreal, Mr. William Lynn (ph), the security attache at the American embassy. He's from the FBI.

And there will be some press kits available for the people from the media after the press conference.

(speaking in English): Welcome to this press conference. I have the pleasure of receiving you today. My name's Leo Margraquette. I'm with the Media and Public Relations office of the RCMP in Montreal.

Our speakers today will be Staff Sergeant Jean Pierre Roir, supervisor of the computer crime unit of the RCMP in Montreal; Inspector Yves Roussel, the officer in charge of the Commercial Crime Section of the RCMP in Montreal; and Mr. William Lynn, assistant legal attache with the Federal Bureau of Investigation out of the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.

Information kits containing the statements of the speakers will be available after the press conference.

(through translator): Inspector Roussel will give a short overview of the investigation, and then Mr. Lynn will speak to us. Afterwards, if you need some individual interviews, our participants will be available to answer your questions.

(speaking in English): (OFF-MIKE) ... overview of the investigation followed by a statement by Mr. Lynn. This will be followed by a question period. If desire a one-on-one interview following the press conference, the speakers will be available

Thank you very much, merci beaucoup.

Monsieur Roussel.

YVES ROUSSEL, ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE (through translator): Hello everyone. Thank you for coming in such a large number.

You know, of course, that many e-commerce businesses in the United States were victims of "denial of service" attacks. The majority of those "denial of services" attacks occurred between the 7th and 14th of February. The main Internet Web sites that were attacked and for which police investigations are still underway were CNN, Yahoo!,, eBay, E*Trade and Excite. These electronic businesses are present on the Web and work in the areas of news or retail businesses.

A "DOS" attack implies actions which imply that the legitimate users of Web site services are denied access to those Web sites by inundating this Web site, or these Web sites, to such a level of request that the Web site server is no longer able to answer legitimate queries. This would be the equivalent of simultaneously calling through hundreds of phones a legitimate commercial service's 1-800 number, for instance, denying access to this phone number.

Immediately after the "DOS" attacks, our colleagues from the FBI undertook an investigation on the 14th of February. The FBI requested the assistance of the computer crime service here of the RCMP in Montreal. A crime suspect has been identified as living in Montreal. A prime suspect had been identified as living in Montreal.

This individual, using the nickname "Mafiaboy," stated numerous times that he was responsible for those "DOS" attacks. This information was freely available on the Worldwide Web, and especially on chats where hackers frequently go and boast about their exploits and the techniques that they use in compromising servers or computers on the Internet.

Two weeks later, the RCMP investigators formally identified "Mafiaboy" as a 15-year-old teenager whose real identity cannot be revealed in virtue of Canadian law.

On the 15th of April last, the investigators of the RCMP proceeded to arrest Maffiaboy and carried out a search of his residence. They confiscated all computers and computer programs that were located on those premises. They are currently undertaking the full analysis of the material that was confiscated.

Following his arrest, Mafiaboy was detained and went before the court on the 17th of April before a child's court here in Montreal where he's formerly accused of a misdemeanor on the CNN Web site and all associated CNN Web sites. The Crown prosecutor intends to demonstrate in front of the children's court that Mafiaboy was responsible for the "DOS" attack which paralyzed for more than four hours the CNN Web site and all the affiliated Web sites. And we're talking about 1,200 Web sites throughout the world.

Following Mafiaboy's going before the court, and considering the very serious nature of the accusation, the child's court imposed very serious restrictions to Mafiaboy. For instance, he can no longer use a computer except at school and under the direct and constant supervision of a teacher or other supervisor. He is also -- he's not allowed to connect himself directly or indirectly to the Worldwide Web. He's also not allowed to be in a retail store where computers are sold or rented, or in a commercial -- in commercial premises where parts or whole computers are sold.

The police investigation is still ongoing and further action might be taken by the RCMP. The -- our investigator will be handing over to the Crown prosecutor a complete report shortly.

KAGAN: We've been listening to officials out of Montreal, Quebec making an announcement that there has been an arrest in a cyber-attack that took place, you might remember, about mid-February. Our own Web site was attacked along with what they're saying is 1,200 other Web sites around the world, including eBay, Yahoo!, Excite and E*Trade. The suspect in question is a 15-year-old boy who Canadian officials won't identify because he is a juvenile, only to say that his screen name he goes by "Mafiaboy." And apparently after the attacks, officials say he went in a number of chat rooms and claimed responsibility for causing these cyber-attacks, the "denial of access."

He has been taken into custody and, for now, has been put under restrictions: no computers, no computer stores and no Internet access. The FBI also helping in that investigation.



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