NewsLocal NewsCleveland Metro


Akron hacker sentenced to six years in prison for cyber attack on Akron websites

Posted at 2:17 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 14:17:01-04

CLEVELAND — An Akron man will spend the next six years behind bars for hacking the city of Akron and Akron Police Department websites in 2017.

According to the U.S. District Attorney's Office, James Robinson, 33, was also ordered to pay more than $650,000 in restitution.

Authorities say Robinson carried out the cyber attacks on Aug. 1, 2017. The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack overwhelmed both websites and took them down.

On the day of the attack, a Twitter user named @AkronPhoenix420 tweeted a link to a YouTube video claiming credit for taking the websites out of service. The tweets included the hashtags #Anonymous and #TangoDown, authorities said.

The video showed a person in a Guy Fawkes mask and the statements "it's time to teach the law a lesson," and "Akron PD abuses the law." The video also stated, "this week the city of Akron experienced system failures on multiple domains including their emergency TCP ports," according to authorities.

Evidence linked the attack's point of origin to an internet connection registered to Robinson. Additional evidence showed his phone was associated with the @AkronPhoenix420 Twitter account, authorities said.

The same Twitter account also claimed responsibility for numerous other DDoS attacks targeted at the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Department of Defense, and others. Authorities said the characteristics of those attacks had similarities with the one carried out in Akron.

Police executed a search warrant on Robinson's home on May 9. Inside, they found a Guy Fawkes mask and a cell phone with a cracked screen that was seen in the video.

Authorities said Robinson eventually told them he was responsible for the Akron cyber attack as well as the DDoS attacks against the Department of Defense.


Man charged in federal court for DDoS attack on Akron Police Department

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's website, along with other government sites hacked