Cyber Security

360: Inside The World Of A Fugitive Hacker

Apr 13, 2017 at 12:43 PM ET

In late 2010, a man who goes by Commander X led an assault on the Santa Cruz county government’s website to protest its treatment of the homeless. Sitting in a café two blocks away from the county’s web servers, he orchestrated a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack that shut them down for 30 minutes.

Over the next year, he tried to evade arrest by moving up and down the Pacific, before finally being captured by the FBI’s cybercrimes division in late September of 2011. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the hacker faced a $500,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison. But as his trial lurched ahead and he was released on bail, the infamous Anonymous figurehead began contemplating an escape plan he had previously failed at. In February 2012, he fled to Canada, where he remains a fugitive to this day.

Now living in exile, Commander X says he’s determined to continue publicizing how governments are abusing the rights, digital and otherwise, of their citizens. And he claims that hacktivists such as himself have become more powerful than ever, thanks to our increasing reliance on information technology.