POSTVILLE | A Postville man has been sentenced to probation for attacking a politically connected toilet paper company website in 2011.
In addition to two years of probation, 24-year-old Jacob Allen Wilkens was ordered to pay $110,932 in restitution to Koch Industries, which owns the Angel Soft toilet paper brand. He pleaded guilty to a single count of computer fraud in U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin for his role in the attack, which prosecutors said was carried out by members of the “Anonymous” hacker group.
Koch Industries is owned by David and Charles Koch, sometimes called the Koch brothers, known for funding conservative political causes.
Authorities said Wilkens used a denial-of-service attack, essentially bombarding the Angel Soft server with so much traffic that it disrupted the site, on the evening of March 1, 2011. The AngelSoft.com server was physically located in Green Bay, Wis., authorities said.
The attacking IP address accessed the Angel Soft site 196,471 times in the span of two hours and two minutes, court records state.
The attack was just one of three assaults on Koch brand websites launched by Anonymous, according to court records, and at least two others have been charged in the plot. QuiltedNorthern.com’s community subdomain was attacked Feb. 27, 2011, and the corporate site Kochind.com was assaulted the following day.
Koch Industries had received advance notice of the attacks and spent $183,000 to hire a consultant to minimize damage to the sites, court records state.
Investigators traced the IP address from the Angel Soft incident to the home of Wilkens’ parents, who were eliminated as suspects because of their limited computer knowledge, court records state.
FBI agents found a related application on Wilkens' computer. They also discovered a chat log in which he told a person in New Zealand he had slow Internet service because he was in the middle of a denial-of-service attack and said “I don’t care if I get arrested.”
Wilkens was charged in October. Other charged include Eric J. Rosol, 38, of Black Creek, Wis., and Christopher Sudlik, 22, of Normandy, Mo.
Rosol pleaded to a similar charge for attacking the Kochind.com server, which was located in Kansas. The assault lasted one minute and knocked the website out of commission for 15 minutes.
Rosol was sentenced to two years probation and $183,000 in restitution in December.
Sudlik received three years of probation and was ordered to pay $110,932 in restitution on Feb. 11 for firing 24,022 requests to the Angel Soft website in half an hour.