Waikiki man charged for ‘email bomb’ cyber attack on HPD’s network

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Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 11:09 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Waikiki man who was arrested in May for illegally carrying ammunition during a protest rally has now been charged with orchestrating email attacks on the Honolulu Police Department’s computers.

Christian Grado, 29, remains behind bars after he was accused of sending thousands of emails to a server used to help report and enforce stay-at-home violations.

Authorities characterized the attack as an email bomb.

“It’s basically what we call a DNS ― a denial of service attack ― where they system gets overloaded with data coming in that it’s not able to handle and process all that data. It’s like clogging the pipes,” said former HPD cybercrime investigator Chris Duque.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday said that between Aug. 9 and Aug. 10, Grado used a program to send “2,292 emails ... or one email sent every 30 seconds for 20 hours straight.”

“There were a lot of digital cookie crumbs left behind by the culprit,” Duque said.

According to the complaint, HPD’s computer sleuths investigators were able to trace the emails to Grado’s home on Ala Wai Boulevard, which they raided last month.

Along with the computer evidence, sources said police also found drugs and ammunition. He was arrested on the drug charges on Sept. 24.

According to his LinkedIn page, Grado is a dance instructor, an Army veteran and an expert marksman.

After the attack, investigators looked into Grado’s social media accounts, searching for a possible motive.

They found a GoFundMe page showing Grado equipped with military gear and seeking donations to cover bail after was arrested in May.

Police said he was arrested then for illegally carrying ammunition during a Black Lives Matter protest.

His court-appointed attorney said he’s not dangerous.

“Just noting that this is a non-violent offense,” said deputy Public Defender Megan McDonald, during Grado’s initial court appearance today.

But prosecutors disagreed.

“The defendant has prior arrests in 2020 for illegal possession of ammunition and also for a C felony for promoting a harmful drug," said Deputy Prosecutor Darryl Miyahira.

Grado is next expected in court on Oct. 20.

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