Local man indicted on federal cyber attack charges

Beaver County Times/October 29, 2009

Camden, New Jersey - A Center Township man was indicted last week on federal charges that he launched cyber attacks against several Web sites, including one against a group that tracks online vigilantes.

Bruce Raisley was charged with fraud activity for alleged 2007 computer attacks on Web sites for Corrupted Justice, music magazine Rolling Stone and the Rick Ross Institute, which studies cult activity.

Charges were filed against Raisley, no age or address available, in June, and a federal grand jury handed down an indictment against Raisley on Oct. 22. Raisley was arrested on June 30 and released on $100,000 unsecured bond. He is to be arraigned on the indictment on Nov. 2.

According to documents from the U.S. District Court of New Jersey’s office in Camden, Radar Magazine published an article called "Strange Bedfellows" in September 2006, while Rolling Stone published an article in July 2007 called "To Catch a Predator: The New American Witch Hunt for Dangerous Pedophiles."

The articles detailed the activities of Perverted Justice, a group of volunteers who work to expose online sexual predators. Detractors, including Corrupted Justice, label them vigilantes, according to court documents. Raisley first was a volunteer with Perverted Justice, according to court documents, but stopped in 2006 and became a member of Corrupted Justice.

According to the Perverted Justice Web site, Raisley signed up for the Web site’s forums in 2004, posting negative comments about the group’s activities. After Raisley was kicked off the Web site, according to Perverted Justice, he started to make threats against Web site members.

The articles by Radar and Rolling Stone described an online incident in which Xavier Von Erck, the founder of Perverted Justice, tricked Raisley into believing Von Erck was a woman and then posted details about the exchange online.

The stories were reposted on various Web sites, including Corrupted Justice, Rolling Stone and the Rick Ross Institute. Raisley told federal investigators that he asked Corrupted Justice and Rick Ross to remove the stories from their Web sites, according to court documents, but they did not.

Federal authorities accused Raisley of using malicious software to infect computers as far away as Slovenia to create a network of computers that flooded the Web sites, either slowing them down or crashing them completely in 2007 and 2008.

According to court documents, an administrator from Corrupted Justice said Raisley contacted him online to "gloat that he had taken down (the Web site’s) servers" in November 2007.

In a similar attack on March 10, 2008, the same administrator called Raisley, prosecutors said, and Raisley said that he "unleashed a virus that could never be stopped" and that the administrator "could kiss (his) Web site goodbye because nothing could protect the servers against this attack" and the Web site "is finished forever."

In early 2008, the FBI determined that Raisley was controlling the attack and raided his home on March 27, 2008, according to court documents.

Raisley denied controlling the cyber attack from his home, according to court documents, but when agents took a memory stick, he said, "The memory stick you took has on it everything you need" and then admitted using programs on the stick to attack the Web sites.

On the Perverted Justice Web site, the group labeled Raisley as a "longtime harasser" and said the group "may deal with these electronic attacks forever" because of the number of infected computers.

Raisley lived in Arkansas before he moved to Beaver County, according to court records; the date when he moved to western Pennsylvania wasn’t listed. He could not be reached for comment Thursday. He is represented by a federal public defender.

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