December 2, 2013 / 10:40 PM / in 5 years

Hacker of Koch Industries website sentenced in Kansas

(Reuters) - A Wisconsin man was sentenced on Monday to two years probation after he admitted taking part in a cyber attack sponsored by the hacker group Anonymous against Kansas conglomerate Koch Industries in February 2011, federal prosecutors said.

A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, symbolic of the hacktivist group "Anonymous", takes part in a protest in central Brussels January 28, 2012. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Eric J. Rosol, 38, also was ordered by the U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas, to pay $183,000 restitution for waging the attack on Koch Industries’s, which is led by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch who are prominent contributors to conservative political causes.

The attack on the Koch webpage was launched on February 28, 2011, when Madison, Wisconsin, was the center of massive demonstrations by unions and supporters against a drive by the Republican-led state legislature and governor to curb the powers of many public sector unions.

Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by David Koch, launched an advertising campaign to support the proposed curbs.

The denial of service attack caused Koch’s website to go offline for about 15 minutes, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom in Wichita, Kansas, said in a statement.

Rosol pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of accessing a protected computer, Grissom said. Wichita-based Koch Industries paid $183,000 to a consulting firm to protect its website, he said.

Anonymous is a loosely associated international group of activists and hackers. Members have faced various recent cyber attack charges.

A Chicago computer hacker, Jeremy Hammond, was sentenced in November to 10 years in prison for cyber attacks on various government agencies and businesses, including a global intelligence company.

In October, the United States brought criminal charges in Alexandria, Virginia, against 13 suspected Anonymous members for allegedly attacking government, credit card and lobbying websites to support internet file-sharing.

A Koch Industries spokesman declined to comment on Rosol’s sentencing. The Koch brothers have been the focus of national attention for giving millions of dollars over the years to conservative political interests.

Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by David Bailey and Bob Burgdorfer

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