Local News

Cary brothers charged in Wake Tech cyber attack

Posted February 17, 2016 1:46 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2016 10:35 p.m. EST

— Two brothers have been charged in connection with a cyber attack that shut down the Wake Technical Community College's computer system for several days last year.

Christopher Neil Hoffman, 17, and Bradley Gray Hoffman, 19, both of 105 Flora Springs Drive in Cary, were charged with denial of government computer services.

Wake Tech campus police said the brothers used a computer program to hit the school website thousands of times at once last February, which slowed the site to a crawl and eventually shut it down for several days. The shutdown prevented students, faculty and staff from accessing their email and other online accounts Feb. 20-23, 2015.

According to investigators, the suspected hackers posted derogatory and threatening messages on the school's Twitter account that included profanity and racial slurs. Local authorities, the State Bureau of Investigation, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security traced the tweets to the Hoffmans' home, according to a search warrant in the case.

Christopher Hoffman's account on an online forum for computer hacking hit the Wake Tech firewall more than 1,000 times near the time of the cyber attack, the search warrant states.

Wake Tech subsequently hired a security company and purchased a new firewall system for more than $88,000.

Both teens appeared in court Wednesday and were released on bond.