A former Fort Collins resident has been indicted by a federal grand jury after allegedly initiating a cyberattack on the Larimer County government computer system.
David Joseph Rezendes, 27, currently of California, was indicted on Aug. 21 and arrested in Sonora, Texas, on Aug. 23. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation began an immediate investigation after a denial of service attack shut down the county’s computer system in 2010 from Sept. 22 through Sept. 24.
“According to the Larimer County sheriff and FBI investigation, agents and officers determined that the denial of service attack was in retaliation for an earlier DUI prosecution, which took place in Larimer County,” Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said Monday.
Rezendes, who also goes by the names Joseph David Rezendes and Joe Rezendes, was arrested on the DUI charge in Larimer County in March 2010. On Sept. 22 of that year, a debilitating denial of service attack was launched. A denial of service renders a computer resource unavailable to its intended users, often by overwhelming a system or network with traffic or communication requests.
“It was clear that the county was the victim of a denial of service attack so they instantly began to determine the source of the attack,” Dorschner said.
The cyberattack affected Larimer County employees’ ability to access their email and the Internet, including state computer systems. Financial impact is thought to be more than $5,000, though Dorschner said the exact amount will be determined during prosecution and is likely to include a variety of factors such as county downtime and inability to conduct business.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will seek incarceration in addition to restitution paid to the county.
“We appreciate the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for assisting us in protecting the taxpayers in Larimer County. Cybercrimes of this nature underscore the importance of cooperation between local and federal officials and the need for their expertise and assistance,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said in a statement.
As part of the investigation, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and FBI executed a search warrant and seized computers and computer components found in Rezendes apartment, and officials claim the investigation uncovered evidence that the defendant was responsible for the cyber attack.
Rezendes appeared in federal district court in Abilene, Texas for an initial appearance on Monday, where a detention and removal hearing was set for Thursday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver is seeking to have him extradited to Colorado by the U.S. Marshals.
The indictment alleges that Rezendes intentionally damaged a protected computer, possessed unauthorized access devices, possessed an identification document-making implement, produced a false identification document and committed aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for damaging a protected computer and a maximum of 15 years in prison for possessing a document-making implement and in addition to more than $700,000 in fines.
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