Romanian Computer Hacker Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison for Staging Denial of Service Attacks on ‘World of Warcraft’ Servers
May 7 – A Romanian computer hacker who orchestrated a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the European servers of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft was sentenced today to one year in federal prison.
Calin Mateias, 38, of Romania, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II.
Mateias, who has been in custody since November 20 after being extradited from Romania, was also ordered to pay $29,987 in restitution to Blizzard Entertainment, the Irvine-based owner and operator of World of Warcraft, to compensate the company for labor costs associated with countering the computer attacks.
World of Warcraft is an online virtual world where players participate in a game using avatars. Mateias, using his in-game avatar, often participated in collaborative events, such as “raids,” where players joined forces to meet game objectives and were rewarded with virtual proceeds or in-game advantages. Mateias became involved in disputes with other players for a variety of reasons, including the division of loot and membership in raid teams.
Between February and September 2010, typically in connection with in-game disputes with other players, Mateias launched DDoS attacks on World of Warcraft servers in Europe. A DDoS attack is an attack on a computer network in which multiple computers are used to transmit a flood of superfluous requests to the target network, thereby overloading it, and making it unavailable to other users. Mateias’ DDoS attacks caused World of Warcraft servers to crash and prevented some paying customers from accessing the game.
After being indicted in this case in 2011 and extradited from Romania last year, Mateias pleaded guilty in February to one count of intentional damage to a protected computer.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber & Intellectual Property Crimes Section.