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Student of Indian Origin Charged With Launching Cyberattacks in US

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The arrest was part of a joint anti-cybercrime operation by the US, Australia and 11 European countries that was coordinated by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at The Hague, in the Netherlands.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested an Indian-origin computer science student on charges of carrying out cyberattacks on a chat website owned by Chatango.

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The suspect, Sean Krishanmakoto Sharma, was produced before federal magistrate Judge Alka Sagar in Los Angeles on Monday and was released on a $100,000 bail bond, said Brian Stretch, the federal prosecutor for Northern California.

Sharma had used a "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) tool to disrupt the computers of a San Francisco company that provides chat services to other companies between November 2014 and January 2015, Stretch said in a statement.

DDoS attacks flood and paralyze computers with bogus requests. It uses viruses and programmes known as botnets which robotically transmit disruptive requests to servers, and trojans, secretly implanted in other people's computers to carry out attacks. A court document said that Sharma used a botnet called Xtreme Fire to carry out the attacks.

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According to a Kaspersky Lab report, "resources in 70 countries were targeted by DDoS attacks in Q2 2016. 77.4 per cent of the targeted resources were located in China and the country along with South Korea and the US remained the leaders in terms of the number of DDoS attacks and targets."

Sharma is currently pursuing graduate studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The FBI arrested him on Friday in La Canada in California.  

The FBI said that his arrest was part of a joint anti- cybercrime operation by the US, Australia and 11 European countries that was coordinated by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at The Hague, in the Netherlands.

A total of 34 people were arrested during the five-day operation conducted from December 5, the FBI said without identifying the others or the countries they were arrested in. Many of them were under the age of 20, the FBI said.

Steven Wilson, the head of EC3, noted that many computer enthusiasts are getting involved in "low-level fringe cybercrime" without being aware of the consequences.

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