IT Expert Busted After Holding Company Website Hostage And Redirecting It To Gay Porn Site

For several days in 2015, a man from Arizona held an unnamed company website hostage and redirected it to a gay porn site.

On Monday, 40-year-old Tavis Tso was sentenced to serve four years of federal probation and must now pay over $9,000 in restitution following a guilty plea. The prosecutors reportedly did not seek prison time for the defendant, Ars Technica reports.

While he was initially charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in addition to wire fraud, it was eventually dropped under the terms of the plea deal.

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Based on the defendant’s plea deal, dated June 2017, Tso provided his IT services to a company in Phoenix back in 2011, by creating the firm’s website.

After about four years, the company contacted Tso again asking him for the website’s domain login information to make some updates on the site.  

Tso admitted having lied, telling the company that he couldn’t help them because he no longer had the needed details.

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Realizing an opportunity to take advantage of the situation, Tso decided to log into the domain account and changed the contact information several times to two fake email accounts that he created himself.

Tso then went on to change the domain records on June 12, 2015, to redirect the website to a blank page, while disabling the company’s email addresses.

Finally, he contacted the company to offer his services to fix the problem in exchange for a fee of $10,000.

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The company refused to comply with his “fee” so he had the site redirected to a gay pornographic website, although it was back to normal several days later. Following a complaint by the company, federal authorities in Arizona eventually filed a criminal case against Tso in December 2016.

In a sentencing memorandum, Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Binford wrote, “Given the fact that this appears to be a one-time lapse in judgment, a term of probation is the best way to address the seriousness of this offense, while affording adequate deterrence to future criminal conduct and protecting the public from future crimes.”

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