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Texas Man Charged In Plot To Bomb AWS Data Center

The suspect’s goal was to allegedly ‘kill off about 70% of the internet.’ ‘We take the safety and security of our staff and customer data incredibly seriously, and constantly review various vectors for any potential threats,’ Amazon said.

Federal authorities arrested and charged a 28-year-old Texas man Thursday in a plot to allegedly blow up an Amazon Web Services data center in Ashburn, Va.

The man, Seth Aaron Pendley, of Wichita Falls, Texas, was charged with “a malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Pendley was arrested Thursday after trying to get the explosive from an undercover FBI employee in Fort Worth, according to an agency press release. He made his initial appearance in federal court Friday morning. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

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In January, a “concerned citizen” alerted the FBI to posts Pendley allegedly published under the name “Dionysus” on an online forum for militia organization, according to the complaint. Dionysus was the ancient Greek god of wine, fertility, ritual madness, theater and religious ecstasy. Pendley allegedly boasted about being at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 storming, but said he didn’t enter the building.

An Amazon representative told investigators that Amazon provides commercial web services to customers using servers at the AWS data centers Pendley allegedly targeted, according to a complaint filed in federal court Friday. Pendley allegedly told a confidential source of the FBI that he wanted his attack to “kill off about 70% of the internet.”

Amazon thanked the FBI in a statement to CRN. “We take the safety and security of our staff and customer data incredibly seriously, and constantly review various vectors for any potential threats. We will continue to retain this vigilance about our employees and customers,” according to the statement.

Northern Virginia houses more than 100 data centers and is strategically located near Washington, D.C. A large percentage of the world’s internet traffic flows through the region, which has witnessed a giant data center boom over the past several years thanks to cloud services providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft spending billions to buy land to build hyperscale data centers on.

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