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California man convicted of directing cyber attack against Norman business

OKLAHOMA CITY – A California man was convicted on one count of directing distributed-denial-of-service(DDoS) cyber attacks against two websites owned by Oklahoma telescope retailer Astronomics in August 2016.

44-year-old David Goodyear was charged in August 2017 with attacking the websites of Astronomics, a family-owned telescope retailer in Norman.

In DDoS cyber attacks, the perpetrator floods the victim computer with useless information from botnets – large clusters of connected devices infected with malware and controlled remotely – and prevents legitimate users from accessing the victim computer.

Thursday, after two days of trial, a jury found Goodyear guilty.

Evidence at the trial showed that Astronomics operated the world’s largest free astronomy forum on the internet, Cloudy Nights, and that Goodyear had been a registered user on the site under a variety of aliases.

Each of Goodyear’s usernames and his primary IP address had been banned for violating the terms of service of Cloudy Nights, including sending threats to other users, administrators and moderators.

On August 13, 2016, Goodyear attempted to access Cloudy Nights as “JamesSober,” but his access to the online community was denied because his “JamesSober” account had been banned on August 9, 2016.

Goodyear then posted messages on Cloudy Nights under a new alias, “HawaiiAPUser,” including pornography and profanity directed at Astronomics and the volunteer administrators and moderators of Cloudy Nights.

In the posts, he threatened that he would “talk with [his] contacts and just DOS this site as well as A55stronomics.”

Evidence also showed that DDoS attacks against Astronomics and Cloudy Nights commended that night and continued intermittently until the end of August 2016, when Goodyear was interviewed by law enforcement and admitted he was responsible for the attacks.

The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning the guilty verdict.

Goodyear faces up to 10 years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and payment of restitution of the victim.