Computer Security Kryogeniks Hacker Who Took Comcast Offline Pleads Guilty...

Kryogeniks Hacker Who Took Comcast Offline Pleads Guilty to Crime

Christopher Allen Lewis, the hacker from a telephone hacking group called Kryogeniks, has pleaded guilty for taking Comcast's web site offline in May of 2008.

Lewis is facing a charge that could land him in prison for five years and a $250,000 fine after his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to intentionally damage a protected computer system. The case is being tried in Philadelphia where Lewis used certain social engineering tactics to obtain critical information on Comcast's site over the phone from a Comcast employee at his home in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania.

Two other individuals, James Robert Black and Michael Paul Nebel, have been charged as co-conspirators in the hacking incident who were also part of the Kryogeniks hacking group. According to a Philadelphia news report, Black is expected to plead guilty and Nebel will enter a not-guilty plea.

Kryogeniks is known as a "phone phreaking" hacker group who do notify their victims though a phone call after the damage has already been done.

The main culprit, Lewis, was able to gain access to's DNS (Domain Name System) account giving him control of the domain. Lewis later contacted a Comcast employee just to "inform" them on what he had done which was taking down the site and redirecting it to a page announcing that the Kryogeniks group hacked Comcast.

The message found on the hacked web page for read "KRYOGENIKS Defiant and EBB RoXed COMCAST sHouTz to VIRUS Warlock elul21 coll1er seven", as shown in figure 1 below, for about 90 minutes until the site was reestablished.

kryogeniks hacker takes comcast website down message
Figure 1. website taken down by Kryogeniks hacker group.

Should the efforts of hacking groups such as Kryogeniks warrant a more stringent punishment? Will Lewis' guilty plea and potential punishment send a message to other hackers who seek actions to take large websites, such as Comcast, offline?