A Maryland man who once used a screen name that called the FBI “losers” pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Chicago to running a hacker-for-hire service that shut down company websites and harassed thousands of unsuspecting people around the world.
Prosecutors said they will recommend a sentence of 2½ years in prison for Zachary Buchta if he continues to cooperate in the investigation. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit damage to protected computers — a charge that can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Buchta, 20, admitted in his plea agreement with prosecutors to being a founding member of the prolific hacker groups Lizard Squad and PoodleCorp, which charged a $20 fee to target anyone for online harassment.
A criminal complaint unsealed when Buchta was arrested in October 2016 charged him with launching a wide range of attacks over a two-year period, including shutting down the web networks of gaming companies and initiating so-called phone-bombing schemes that inundated victims with harassing phone calls.
Two charged in Chicago with operating cyber-attack-for-hire websites »