DoS Attack Shuts Down Port of Houston

Event Year: 2001 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: United States
Industry Type: Transportation

Aaron Caffrey, 19, was accused of bringing computers to a standstill at the port of Houston in Texas - but was found not guilty by a jury on October 17, 2003. This was despite both the prosecution and defence agreeing that Caffrey’s machine was responsible for launching the attack, that a list of 11,608 IP addresses of vulnerable servers was found on his hard drive, and the discovery of a malicious script on his system signed by someone called “Aaron”.  An investigation by US authorities traced the attack back to a computer at Caffrey’s home in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Investigators found a copy of the attack script on the computer.


Computers at the port suffered a severe denial-of-service attack on 20 September, 2001. The attack crashed systems at the port which provide crucial data for shipping pilots, mooring companies and support firms responsible for helping ships to navigate in and out of the harbour, placing shipping at risk.