A 19-year-old New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to knocking the Church of Scientology's website offline in a series of online DDoS attacks in January 2008. He faces up to 10 years in jail.
Dmitriy Guzner, of New Jersey, was part of an underground hacking group called Anonymous that has made the church a target of several attacks. He had been expected to enter a guilty plea when he was charged last October, but it was not formally entered until Monday, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
He faces 10 years in prison on computer hacking charges and is set to be sentenced on August 24 in US District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The attacks began January 19 and managed to knock the Scientology.org website offline by hitting it with several bursts of unwanted internet traffic. Called a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, it flooded the site with as much as 220Mb per second of traffic.
Anonymous promoted the incident with several YouTube videos.
"For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind and for our own enjoyment, we shall proceed to expel you from the internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form," a computerised voice says in one Anonymous video.