A US botnet operator who had turned 100,000 PCs against several news websites, including Rolling Stone, was last week convicted for his endeavours.
The 49 year-old programmer Bruce Raisley faced a potential 10-year jail sentence, a $250,000 fine and $100,000 in reparation fees to websites that he had attacked with his botnet between 2007 and 2008.
Raisley had launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in an effort to prevent a story about him and Xavier Von Erck - a former colleague and founder of anti-pedophile vigilante group, Perverted Justice - from being viewed.
Perverted Justice had helped NBC create its program "To Catch a Predator".
After a falling out between the two, Raisley had become an "outspoken critic" of Perverted Justice, according to the office of the United States Attorney District of New Jersey (PDF).
The attacks on Rolling Stone stemmed from its report on the group's methods of catching predators.
According to court documents obtained by Wired, Rolling Stone suffered several DDoS attacks between 2007 and 2008.
"Regardless of Raisley's motivations, his attacks on computer systems were misdirected vengeance. It is unacceptable when a personal vendetta turns into criminal behavior, and we will track down cybercriminals who launch such malicious attacks," said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.