On July 11, 2016, the United States Department of Justice published a press release announcing the sentencing of Mir Islam of New York, NY. Islam, 22-years old, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison on three federal charges stemming from a conspiracy to commit various crimes related to the “swatting” and “doxing” of dozens of victims, interstate transmission of threats, cyber-stalking, making a false bomb threat against a university in Arizona ,and a pattern of online harassment constituting cyber-stalking against a university student. All of the charges stem from Islam’s activities that took place between February and September 2013.
Mir Islam, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bangladesh, was arrested in September 2013. In addition to the prison time, the Honorable Randolph D. Moss ordered Islam to be placed on three years of supervised release following the prison term. During his supervised release, Mir Islam must agree to computer monitoring and other conditions.
“In his guilty plea, Islam admitted to “swatting” and “doxing” numerous individuals, to communicating a false shooting and bomb threat on a university campus in Arizona, and to committing a pattern of online harassment against a university student. “Swatting” is the act of placing emergency 9-1-1 type calls to police departments, usually through Internet-based telecommunication relay services, to make false claims of homicides or other assaultive or criminal conduct by, or against, other targeted individuals at the locations of those individuals. These false 9-1-1 communications are intended to result in, and usually did result in, a tactical police response, including SWAT teams, to the targeted, unsuspecting victims’ residences. “Doxing” is the act of gathering, by licit and illicit means, and posting on the Internet personal identifying information (“PII”) and other sensitive information about an individual, including, for example, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, credit information, employers, and details regarding the individual’s children and other family members.”
The Washington Times reports that Mir Islam’s targets included members of Congress, a federal prosecutor and National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre, among others.
U.S. Attorney Phillips said that Mir Islam put people at risk on the internet and in their own homes. The sentence, Attorney Phillips stated, reflects the seriousness of Mir Islam’s crimes and hopefully will deter others from similar actions.
“This crime not only diverted first responders from actual life-threatening emergencies and wasted their valuable time and resources, but it also caused severe emotional distress to a large number of victims,” said U.S. Attorney Leonardo. “We hope this prosecution will deter others from engaging in similar dangerous and criminal behavior in the future.”
Assistant Director in Charge Abbate stated:
“The FBI takes ‘swatting’ and ‘doxing’ attacks very seriously because such illegal conduct jeopardizes public safety and places innocent people in harm’s way by exposing private and personal information. Working closely with our law enforcement partners, the FBI continues to refine technological capabilities and investigative techniques to prevent these types of crimes, and to track down criminals who commit them.”
According to court documents, Mir Islam and his co-conspirators committed the doxing and swatting to entertain themselves, to exact revenge for official conduct they found objectionable, to express animus toward certain victims, and for their own notoriety.
You can read the full press release at this link.