26-year-old Santiago Garrido is reported to have used a worm to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks after he was expelled from the popular Hispano IRC chatroom for disobeying its rules.
According to Sophos. the attacks disrupted an estimated three million users of the Wanadoo, ONO and Lleida Net services, as well as several other ISPs, amounting to one third of all of Spain's internet users at the time of the offence in 2003.
Garrido, who went by the aliases of Ronnie and Mike25, was sentenced last week at a court in La Coruqa and also faces a euro 1.4 million fine.
Commenting on the case, Graham Cluley, Sophos' senior technology consultant (for it is he), said that the hacker was so furious about being thrown out of a chatroom that he resorted to a criminal act to wreak his revenge, affecting millions of Internet users in the process.
"This type of activity causes serious damage and disruption, and any hackers engaged in such behaviour must be punished accordingly. The Spanish Civil Guard should be congratulated for seeing this case through to its conclusion," he said.
Sophos reckons that more than 60 per cent of all spam today originates from zombie computers, which can be used by criminal hackers to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks, spread unwanted email messages or to steal confidential information...