An Oregon man has pleaded guilty to using a computer worm to launch attacks against Internet auction site eBay Inc., the U.S. attorney's office handling the case said on Wednesday.
Anthony Scott Clark, 21, pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging a protected computer, a crime with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to twice any losses incurred, according to the U.S. Attorney for the northern district of California.
In July and August 2003, Clark and accomplices infected about 20,000 computers with a worm, a type of malicious program that allowed them to direct the machines to visit eBay.com, overwhelming the popular Web site, the attorney's office said.
EBay spokesman Chris Donlay declined to say what kind of damage the attacks caused, but welcomed news of the plea.
"We take the protection of our Web site and our community of users very seriously and we think this case will send a pretty clear message that we will pursue anyone who attempts to do this kind of thing," Donlay said.
Luke Macaulay, a spokesman a the attorney's office, said damages were estimated to be between "tens of thousands and millions" of dollars, and that a judge would decide on the amount during Clark's sentencing hearing in April 2006.