New Mexico man sentenced for cyber attacks on Minnesota government agencies, colleges

The 55 year old was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
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A man from New Mexico has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for cyber attacks on numerous organizations, including Minnesota government agencies.

John K. Gammell, 55, of Las Cruces, carried out and paid other hackers to carry out sabotage attacks on his former employers, as well as court, police and college organizations in Minnesota.

His method of attack was distributed denial of service (DDoS), which sees large amounts of internet traffic directed at individual websites, causing them to crash because they can't handle that much.

Among his more than three-dozen victims between 2015 and 2017 were banks, business competitors, and his former employer, The Washburn Computer Group in Monticello, Minnesota.

The company previously told KSTP that Gammell, who used to live in the Twin Cities before moving to Denver and then New Mexico, cost them $15,000 as a result of the attack.

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Other Minnesota victims included the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Dakota County Technical College, Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, and the Minnesota courts system.

He would also use "IP address anonymization services" to hide his location, and paid DDOS-for-hire companies using cryptocurrency, making him more difficult to track.

He is one of the first people to be charged in Minnesota to be charged with "intentional damage to a protected computer."

Gammell also admitted to weapons offenses in Colorado and New Mexico.

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