In a world of highly-skilled white hat hackers, hacktivists, and outright cybercriminals, it can be hard to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys.
When even the most well-intentioned individual wreaks havoc and potentially causes physical harm, there’s no room for vigilantes.
Randall Charles Tucker, who called himself the “Bitcoin Baron,” has learned that the hard way. While stories vary on Tucker’s motives for a series of DDoS attacks in early 2015, authorities were able to locate him by following the social media trail. It seems the Baron not only liked to brag about his exploits online, he also took issue with sources that mistakenly gave credit for his hacking activities to groups like Anonymous.
According to Catalin Cimpanu for Bleeping Computer, “For the time, Tucker was your regular confused hacktivist who took up arms against causes he saw as unjust, including launching attacks part of #OpSeaWorld, an operation of the Anonymous hacker collective against the maltreatment of ocean life inside SeaWorld parks…
Other victims of his rage included the networks of various US municipalities, children’s hospitals, news sites, web hosting firms, banks, gaming servers, and the homepages of other hacker groups.”
Not so smart?
Yes, this is the brain child that hacked a children’s hospital and launched a DDoS attack, crippling their network and halting patient care for a while. Tucker also reportedly hacked into a police department network and demanded the immediate arrest of an officer who’d committed a horrific assault on an innocent person; unfortunately, the officer that the Baron targeted in this attack had stopped working at the police department two years before the assault.
Finally, after numerous cringe-worthy exploits, Tucker went a little too far. In a DDoS attack against a city municipality, he ended up blocking communication between 911 dispatchers and first responders, reportedly resulting in public harm. Since Tucker was also not very skilled at his own security, law enforcement officers tracked him down, thanks in part to some of his bragging and to arguments he got in online.
Tucker was found guilty and sentenced to twenty months in prison, and ordered to pay almost $70,000 in restitution.