Two Israeli teens were indicted Tuesday on charges of running a major hacker ring. The two 19-year-olds from Hod Hasharon are accused of running hacking campaigns against dozens of targets, for which they earned hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police said in a statement that the criminal hacking campaign “was unprecedented for this kind of crime” in Israel.
The charges reflect actions the two took over the past several years — which they promptly halted when they turned 18, when the criminal justice system would treat them as adults, not juveniles. The two are being charged with a host of crimes, including conspiracy, theft, illegal use of software, obstruction of justice, libel, identity theft and others. Among the evidence collected, prosecutors said, were images and videos consisting of illegal and banned content.
The two “specialized” in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, in which hackers use networks to overload and overwhelm online sites, basically inundating them with requests for connections, as a result overloading and freezing them. Investigators said that the two were responsible for no fewer than 2 million such attacks, costing their victims — corporations and government sites around the world — millions of dollars.
The teens headed a gang of Israeli hackers. The ring was discovered after many months of work by the Israel Police, in conjunction with Europol, the European police agency. The two advertised their services on web sites frequented by hackers and criminals — known as the “dark web” — with an “introductory DDoS package” starting at $19.99. Advanced services could raise the bill for clients to up to $500. After expenses — paying the hackers in their employ, and other expenses — the two netted over NIS 600,000, police said. Although the crimes were committed when they were minors, police will seek to try them as adults, officials said.