Twitch spammer faces criminal charges in Canada

Brandan Apple of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia is facing charges in connection with a massive spambot attack against Twitch streamers that took place between February and May of 2017. According to the CBC, Apple is facing a charge of "mischief in relation to computer data," for "willfully causing multiple repetitive messages to be transmitted." 

The criminal charges are separate from, but connected to, a civil case filed in BC Supreme Court that sheds more light on what happened. The lawsuit claims that more than 1000 Twitch channels were affected by the attack, which saw 150,000 messages posted at an average rate of 34 per minute, and as rapidly as 600 per minute on some channels.

A petition filed in the aftermath of the attack (via Ars Technica) as part of the effort to determine the originator's identity says the messages contained—entirely unsurprisingly—"racism, homophobia, sexual harassment, links to shock imagery, false implications of view-botting and soliciting child sex exploitation material." 

Twitch eventually traced the spam back to chatsurge.net, a site allegedly run by Apple. The site is no longer up, but a video demonstrating the service that promises "instant, unusable chat" on Twitch channels is still available on YouTube. Apple himself has been slapped with an order barring him from making or owning anything that could be used to mess with Twitch.

"Mischief in relation to computer data" may sound like the sort of thing you'd yell at your kid for, but it's actually fairly serious stuff: The Canadian Criminal Code states that in cases "in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars," the maximum penalty is ten years in prison.