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DV Pilot police & fire

Former ‘Perverted Justice’ vigilante gets 2 years for attacking Rolling Stone, other sites

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : A computer hacker who sought vengeance for published stories about him leaving his wife for a virtual woman was sentenced by a New Jersey federal judge Friday to two years in prison.

Bruce Raisley

Federal jurors last fall convicted Bruce Raisley, 48, of Kansas City, Mo. – formerly of Monaca, Pa. – of launching a computer virus that infected nearly 100,000 computers worldwide and directed them to attack media outlets that republished stories that mentioned him after he was duped into leaving his wife for a virtual woman who didn’t exist.

Those suffering web site losses included Rolling Stone, Radar, Nettica, and the Rick Ross Institute of New Jersey magazine.

Raisley was a volunteer with Perverted Justice, an organization that worked with the Dateline NBC television show “To Catch a Predator” to identify and nab pedophiles. But he had a falling out with the  group and its founder, Xavier Von Erck, and quickly became an outspoken critic of both.

Von Erck retaliated by posing online as an adult woman named “Holly,” striking up a relationship with Raisley. Eventually, Raisley agreed to leave his wife for “Holly” and was photographed by a Perverted Justice volunteer waiting for “Holly” at the airport.

In September 2006, Radar Magazine published an article entitled “Strange Bedfellows,” and in July 2007, Rolling Stone Magazine published an article entitled, “To Catch a Predator: The New American Witch Hunt for Dangerous Pedophiles.” Both discussed the TV show, the techniques used by Perverted Justice — and the “Holly” incident.

Both articles went viral — and Raisley, apparently, went mental.

Federal authorities said he developed a virus that “would spread over the Internet and infect computers.” It created a botnet that remotely controlled roughly 100,000 computers, which began attacking the sites Raisley targeted with denial of service attacks.

In a DOS attack, a computer repeatedly tries to access a site. Multiply the constant number of access attempts by 100,000 computers and you can crash a site that’s unable to handle that much traffic.

In addition to Friday’s prison sentence, a judge in Camden ordered Raisley to pay more than $90,000 for damages to the companies operated the targeted web sites.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI with making the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erez Liebermann and Lee Vartan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit, Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section in Newark.

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