KISS Frontman Simmons Was Victim of Web Hacking by ‘Anonymous,’ U.S. Says

Prosecutors unmasked an alleged member of the Anonymous hacking collective who they charged with shutting down the website of Gene Simmons, frontman for the rock band KISS and a critic of music piracy.

Kevin George Poe, 24, of Manchester, Connecticut, who used the screen name “spydr101,” was taken into custody today without incident in Hartford and later was released on a $10,000 bond, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles said in a statement. He’s accused of waging a denial of service attack on GeneSimmons.com.

A judge ordered Poe to appear in federal court in Los Angeles on a date that has yet to be determined. If convicted, he faces as long as 15 years in prison.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned an indictment last week that accused Poe of being affiliated with the Anonymous hacking group. He’s accused, with the help of other hackers, of attacking Simmons’s computer systems in October of last year, rendering the website useless, according to the statement.

Deirdre Murray, a federal public defender who represented Poe at today’s hearing, didn’t immediately return a call to her office.

Anonymous, a group of self-styled hacker-activists behind attacks on corporate and government websites, has in the past targeted sites of organizations fighting online piracy, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.

Music Industry

At a media conference in Cannes, France, last year, Simmons said that the music industry allowed itself to be destroyed by not being aggressive enough fighting illegal downloads of songs from the start.

“The music industry was asleep at the wheel,” Simmons said during a panel discussion posted on YouTube. “It didn’t have the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded material, and so now we’re left with hundreds of thousands of people without jobs. There’s no industry.”

Simmons said entrepreneurs needed to be litigious to protect their brands and “sue everybody.”

“Take their homes, their cars,” Simmons said. “Don’t let anybody cross that line.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stefanie Batcho-Lino at sbatcholino1@bloomberg.net Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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