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‘World of Warcraft’ DDoS attacker gets a year in prison, nearly $30,000 fine

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Mess with Blizzard, and you’ll face an enormous storm. A Romanian World of Warcraft player found that out the hard way, as his distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the game’s servers have resulted in a year of jail time and a hefty fine.

Calin Mateias, who was extradited from his home of Romania to face charges in the United States, pleaded guilty to one count of  “intentional damage to a protected computer” back in February. His crimes took place between February and September of 2010, and consisted of DDoS attacks orchestrated to take down the European servers for World of Warcraft. He was indicted in Romania back in 2011 but wasn’t extradited to the United States to face charges until November 2017. Previously, he was indicted on charges related to the attempted theft of $10 million from Ingram Micro, as spotted by the BBC.

“Mateias’ DDoS attacks caused World of Warcraft servers to crash and prevented some paying customers from accessing the game,” said the Justice Department in a press release.

These attacks were apparently the result of Mateias’ frustrations with other players in the game, including player conduct involving loot distribution during raids. Needless to say, he took things a little further than most players would if they didn’t get a new pair of leggings or a bow. We suggest trying out a few rounds of Overwatch or even reading a book the next time you feel the need to ruin everyone’s fun with a massive attack.

In addition to his year of jail time, Mateias must pay nearly $30,000 to Blizzard “to compensate the company for labor costs associated with countering the computer attacks.” The payout doesn’t mention the players impacted by the attack, who were paying for a subscription but were unable to access the game during periods of outage.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen hackers and cyber-attackers face steep punishment for interfering with online games. The developers of hacking tools for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds were arrested in China and fined more than $5 million for enabling others to cheat in the game, and the programs were found to contain Trojan horse software that could steal users’ information.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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