5. MafiaBoy


MafiaBoy, whose real identity has been kept under wraps because he is a minor,  a high school student from West Island, Quebec, who launched a series of highly publicized denial-of-service attacks in February 2000 against large commercial websites including Yahoo!, Fifa.com, Amazon.com, Dell, Inc., E*TRADE, eBay, and CNN. He also launched a series of failed simultaneous attacks against 9 of the 13 root name servers.

After MafiaBoy was released his real name with published as Michael Demon Calce, Calce was born in the West Island area of Montreal, Quebec. When he was five, his parents separated and he lived with his mother after she had won a lengthy battle for primary custody. Every second weekend he would stay at his father’s condo in Montreal proper. He felt isolated from his friends back home and troubled by the separation of his parents, so his father purchased him his own computer at the age of six. It instantly had a hold on him: “I can remember sitting and listening to it beep, gurgle and churn as it processed commands. I remember how the screen lit up in front of my face. There was something intoxicating about the idea of dictating everything the computer did, down to the smallest of functions. The computer gave me, a six year old, a sense of control and command. Nothing else in my world operated that way

On February 7, 2000, Calce targeted Yahoo! with a project he named Rivolta, meaning “riot” in Italian. Rivolta was a denial of service type of cyber attack in which servers become overloaded with different type of communications to the point where they shut down completely. At the time, Yahoo! was a multibillion dollar industry and the web’s top search engine. Mafiaboy’s Rivolta managed to shut downYahoo! for almost an hour. Calce’s goal was, according to him, to establish dominance for himself and TNT, his cybergroup, in the cyberworld. Buy.com was shut down in response. Calce responded to this in turn by bringing down Ebay, CNN, Amazon and Dell.com via DDoS over the next week.

In a 2011 interview, Calce tried to redeem his image by saying that the attacks had been launched unwittingly, after inputting known addresses in a security tool he had downloaded from a repository on the now defunct file-sharing platform Hotline, developed by Hotline Communications. Calce would then have left for school, forgetting the application which continued the attacks during most of the day. Upon coming home Calce found his computer crashed, and restarted it unaware of what had gone on during the day. Calce claimed when he overheard the news and recognized the companies mentioned being those he had inputted earlier in the day, that he “started to understand what might have happened.