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15-Year-Old Canadian Boy Charged in Attack on CNN Site

An investigation into other attacks is continuing and additional arrests are possible.

Canadian national police said Wednesday that they had charged a 15-year-old boy who used the online screen name "Mafiaboy" with two counts of mischief for his alleged role in crippling the

CNN

Web site in February.

Prosecutors accused the boy of initiating the so-called denial of service attacks that disabled

CNN.com

and affiliated sites for four hours on Feb. 8. Each charge of mischief in relation to data carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison. The boy's real name was not disclosed because of his age, they said.

The attack immediately followed disruptions on the popular Web portal

Yahoo!

on Feb.7 that spread to the

CNN

site as

well as

eBay

,

Amazon.com

and

TheStreet Recommends

Buy.com

on Feb. 8.

Though there was no evidence that money or corporate secrets were stolen or that computer codes were altered, the attacks drew widespread attention to questions of information security on the Internet. They were carried out by linking a network of computers together and harnessing that power to send an overwhelming number of meaningless information requests to the Web sites.

The

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

, who are investigating the attacks in tandem with the

FBI

and the

Department of Justice

, repeatedly mentioned the other attacks in a statement and at a Montreal news conference. But a spokesman for the Canadian police said the charges involved only the

CNN

attack.

Patty Smith, an

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report

spokeswoman, said her company had cooperated in the investigation but was unaware of any calls informing it that a suspect had been arrested.

Kevin Pursglove, spokesman for

eBay

(EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report

, said his company was cooperating in the investigation. He would not comment on whether the company has received information about an arrest in the eBay attack.

Representatives from

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and Buy.com

(BUYX)

were not immediately available for comment.

Both Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officials said an investigation into all of the attacks was continuing and that additional arrests were possible.

Private corporate security consultants assisted the investigation, said Paul Bresson, an FBI public affairs specialist. Jeffrey Bedser, managing director of

Internet Crimes Group

, a Princeton, N.J.-based Internet investigation firm, said his company tipped the FBI to what it believed was the boy's first name, location and citizenship during the week of the attacks.

After the name Mafiaboy appeared in news reports, the firm connected the nickname to a non-maintained Web site, or ghost site, that had not been updated since 1997, and an e-mail account with a first name and what appeared to be a truncated last name.

A Mafiaboy held two now-closed accounts with

Delphi Supernet

, a Montreal Internet service provider that Toronto-based

ISP Internet Direct

bought last year, Bedser said. .

Steve Berry, a supervisory special agent in the FBI's Washington headquarters, declined to comment on the first name or the Internet service provider. Internet Direct could not immediately be reached for comment.

Candian officials said an FBI legal attache asked the Canadian police in Ottawa for assistance on Feb. 14. The computer investigation and support unit of the Canadian police in Montreal began working to identify the suspect, according to the Canadian police.

By the next day, the team had pinpointed Mafiaboy's residence using data seized in the execution of search warrants. The Canadian police did not specify what locations were searched. Two weeks after determining Mafiaboy's residence, Canadian police investigators "formally identified" that he was a 15-year-old boy, police officials said.

They raided his residence, arrested him and conducted a search on Saturday at 3 a.m. He was taken to court and formally charged on Monday.

The boy was released on bail with a series of 11 conditions, including juvenile court standards like staying with his parents, attending school and meeting a curfew. He also is "prohibited to connect to the Internet directly or indirectly."