COQUITLAM, B.C. – A British Columbia man has been charged with mischief after a U.S.-based social media platform was allegedly flooded with thousands of spam messages, effectively shutting down many of its channels.
Brandan Lukus Apple of Coquitlam was charged Dec. 1 with one count of mischief to computer data after the alleged cyberattack.
The 20-year-old man is also named in a B.C. Supreme Court civil lawsuit filed last April by Twitch Interactive Inc. that alleges he was behind an attack by so-called spambots last year, where unsolicited messages flooded more than a thousand of its channels, disabling the company’s chat feature.
The Twitch website says the company is the world’s leading social video service using members to stream video games to 100 million viewers who can take part in game culture through real-time chats and discussions.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge separately ordered Apple in April to refrain from creating, selling or promoting any other bots or robots allegedly aimed at the company’s websites.
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment and a statement of defence has not been filed in the civil suit.
None of the allegations in the lawsuit or in the criminal charge have been proven in court.
The case stemming from the criminal charge returns to court in Port Coquitlam next month.
The company says in a statement of claim in its civil lawsuit that over 1,000 channels were attacked with over 150,000 spam messages.
“Twitch has received hundreds of individual reports regarding spam messages containing racism, homophobia, sexual harassment, links to shock imagery, false implications of viewbotting and soliciting child sex exploitation material ….” the statement alleges.
Twitch is asking for damages to cover the cost of investigating the alleged attacks, as well as lost revenue.