A California man was arrested on charges of using distributed denial-of-service attacks to shut down the website of a congressional candidate whose rival had hired his wife.
32-year-old Arthur Jan Dam from Santa Monica was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday. According to a lawsuit filed at the Los Angeles Federal Court, Dam DDoSed has the website of a candidate The Intercept reported that he ran against Katie Hill in the 2018 primary. Hill won with less than 3,000 votes and switched republican seats in the general election. Hill later resigned after her nude photos were released without her consent.
Dam, who The Intercept reported being married to Hill's Kelsey O’Hara fundraiser, allegedly launched four attacks that destroyed the website of Bryan Caforio, Hill's rival candidate in the area code. The candidate spent between $ 27,000 and $ 30,000 in response to the 21-hour outages and also saw a reduction in campaign contributions. Rolling Stone reported the September 2018 election attacks. The FBI has found no evidence that either Hill or Dam's wife was involved in the attacks, the prosecutors said in a press release. Friday's complaint neither identified the candidates nor Dam's wife.
FBI investigators tracked the origins of the attacks on Amazon Web Services servers controlled by a Dam account. At the time of the attack, the prosecutor said the AWS account was accessed using IP addresses that were connected to Dam's home and work. Investigators also found that Dam had searched the Internet for various DDoS-related topics and tools, including Slow Loris, Slow Loris nodejs, and Juniper ex3300. Other searches related to terms that include computer exploits, although there are no allegations that he used any.
Some of the attacks faked packet headers to make it appear that traffic came from legitimate websites like USA Today, Engadget, and Google. One of the DDoS attacks occurred one hour before the candidate participated in an election debate. The candidate had no other means than social media to make public statements in the hours that followed.
According to the complaint, Dam owned the arthurdam.com website, which according to web archives shows that he worked as a senior creative technologist for a company called MediaMonks. Dam was accused of intentionally damaging a protected computer and attempting to damage it. He was arrested after surrendering to FBI agents in Los Angeles. His first appearance in court is scheduled for Friday afternoon.