A European online gamer has been jailed in the United States for orchestrating a cyber-attack on the massively popular multiplayer game World of Warcraft, having disrupted the game’s service in Europe.
The culprit, Calin Mateias, was blamed for flooding the servers of game’s developer, Blizzard Entertainment, with traffic in 2010 between February and September.
It is speculated he used the DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack to slow down the speed of his rival’s connection to the server, giving him an unfair advantage. The resulting disruption affected thousands of players in Europe.
Mr Mateias, a citizen of Romania, was extradited to Los Angeles in order to face the charges against him. He pleaded guilty to the charge of causing damage to a protected computer in February 2010.
He also paid a sum of $29,987 to Blizzard Entertainment to offset the money the company lost trying to mitigate the cyber-attack. Prosecutors did not hesitate to state that the then 30 year old’s motivation was a “juvenile desire” to win in a video game.
Prosecutors explained the video game’s mechanics and the kind so of disputed Mr Mateias would get into with other players. They said that these altercations prompted him to use software to perform DDoS attacks on the server in order to punish or defeat other players.
Mr Mateias, who used an online alias that parodied an infamous Nazi doctor, also faced charges for an alleged role in hacking and robbing a California-based company. These charges were dropped after he was found guilty of the video game charges and sentenced to 1 year in US prison.
The video game in questions, World of Warcraft, has historically been the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) which a peak population half the size of Australia. While numbers of players have declined in recent years, the game is still a busy online community with players from all around the globe.