Hacker 'Coolio' is released

Despite admitting hacking 100 sites, the 17-year-old is not responsible for big Denial of Service attacks on Web sites, investigators say
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

FBI agents investigating last month's Denial of Service Web attacks said they don't think a 17-year-old New Hampshire youth, whose name surfaced as a suspect, is responsible for the incidents.

The young man, who goes by the online handle "Coolio", became a suspect last month after someone using that moniker claimed credit for several Web attacks.

Los Angeles police questioned him recently in connection with attacks on an anti-drug site the officers run, said an LAPD spokesman. The youth acknowledged hacking into that site and at least 100 others, the spokesman said.

Local prosecutors are still considering whether to charge him with computer crimes unrelated to last month's attacks on major commercial Web sites, such as those operated by eBay and Yahoo!, according to the spokesman. The youth's real name is still unknown.

Investigators carried out a search warrant on his home last month and confiscated several computers, which were examined by the FBI. Federal investigators believe that other hackers may have used the name Coolio. As for who is responsible for the attacks, officials said that they have "promising leads", and that prospects are improving for arrests in the case. The leading theory remains that the initial outages beginning on 7 February were coordinated by an individual or group, but were followed by copycat incidents.

One federal law enforcement official said the FBI fieldwork was "focused in the Atlanta and Boston field offices". Gail Marcinkiewicz, spokeswoman for the Boston FBI field office, wouldn't confirm this, saying only that the division had made no arrests in the case.

For full coverage, see the Denial of Service roundup.

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