Activist Admits Shutting Down California County's Website

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An activist has admitted carrying out a cyber-attack that shut down a California County’s website more than a decade ago.

Christopher Doyon initially pleaded not guilty to being involved in the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that closed down Santa Cruz County’s site on December 16 2010. However, the 57-year-old former resident of Mountain View, California, changed his plea to guilty on Tuesday, when he appeared before district judge Beth Labson Freeman 

Doyon was indicted on September 21 2011, for conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a protected computer and deliberate damage to a protected computer, aiding and abetting. 

According to the 2011 indictment, the DDoS attack was perpetrated as part of “Operation Peace Camp 2010,”– a protest held in retaliation for Santa Cruz banning camping within the city limits.

Santa Cruz County officials estimated that the attack on their computer network caused approximately $4060 worth of damage.

Doyon, who calls himself Commander X, was arrested in 2011 and later released on a $35K bond but failed to appear for a federal court hearing scheduled for February 2012. 

After initially fleeing to Canada, Doyon was eventually arrested in Mexico on June 11 2021 by the county’s immigration authorities. Doyon was then deported to the United States, where FBI agents took him into custody on June 12.

In his plea agreement, Doyon reportedly admits to being embroiled in other cyber-attacks waged against computer servers in Orlando, Florida, in July 2011 after the City of Orlando started requiring organizers feeding large groups of homeless people in local parks to obtain a permit for their charitable efforts.

After law enforcement arrested members of Food Not Bombs, Doyon orchestrated cyber-attacks against several Orlando websites, including the site for city government, the chamber of commerce and the county sheriff’s office site.

Doyon pleaded guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy to intentionally damage a protected computer; two counts of intentional damage to the protected computer; and failure to appear after pre-trial release.

The United States Attorney’s Office will reportedly recommend that Doyon, who will be sentenced on June 28 2022, serve a 15-year custodial term. 

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