Joseph Konopka

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Joseph Konopka
Joseph Konopka Closeup.jpg
Born 1976 (age 38–39)
De Pere, Wisconsin, USA
Occupation Computer system administrator
Criminal charge
Conspiracy to commit terrorism
Criminal penalty
13 years in prison
Criminal status Incarcerated

Joseph Konopka, better known by his self-given nickname Dr. Chaos, is an American citizen who is currently serving 13 years in prison for 2 felony acts of conspiracy to commit acts of terror.[1] In 2004, in Wisconsin, he was also charged with 6 felony counts of arson and vandalism, as well as trespassing, and sentenced to an additional 10 years. However, these charges were later thrown out of court on a federal appeal.[2]


Konopka was born in 1976 in De Pere, Wisconsin. He did not finish high school, though he completed his GED.[1]

"The Realm of Chaos"[edit]

Konopka, a former computer systems administrator,[3] used the Internet to recruit a group of adolescent disciples. He called this group The Realm of Chaos.[1] This group was ultimately responsible for 28 full power failures and 20 other service interruptions at various Wisconsin power plants.[1] They also committed arson, disrupted radio and television broadcasts, managed to disable an air traffic control system, sold pirated software, and damaged an internet service provider's computer system.[1]

Ultimately, it was established that Konopka and his group caused more than $400,000 worth of damage in 13 different Wisconsin counties.[1] Total damages caused by Konopka over his long history of vandalism and criminal damage is estimated at $2.5 million to $3 million.[4]

Konopka also associated with the Chicago chapter of 2600, a group of hackers who also publish a magazine and hold gatherings and an annual national conference every year.[5] The FBI visited the 2002 meeting of the Chicago chapter and questioned members about their knowledge of Konopka.[6]


In 2002, the 25-year-old Konopka was arrested at the University of Illinois by Chicago Police after he was caught hoarding potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide in an unused Chicago Transit Authority storeroom in the Chicago 'L' Blue Line subway.[7] Konopka had picked the original locks on several doors in the tunnels, then changed the locks so that he could access the unused rooms freely. Konopka had briefly associated with a Chicago-area urban exploration group in order to obtain information on how to access the large network of unused tunnels and abandoned rooms on Chicago's transit system as well as to lure juveniles to help him.[4] The cyanide had been stolen from a shuttered warehouse, formerly owned by a water treatment company on Chicago's South Side.[8]


As of May 2014, Konopka is serving his sentence at ADX Florence and scheduled for release on August 24th, 2019.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gina Barton (2004-06-17). "'Dr. Chaos' gets 10 more years for crime spree". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-03-26. [dead link]
  2. ^ Staff (2005-06-01). "Ruling Favors 'Dr. Chaos'". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  3. ^ "Guilty Plea Entered By `dr. Chaos'". Wisconsin State Journal. 2005-08-28. Retrieved 2008-04-22. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b Tom Held (2002-03-14). "Judge calls 'Dr. Chaos' a true danger: Cyanide suspect waives hearing, stays in custody". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  5. ^ Declan McCullagh. "Cyanide Anarchist a Hacker, Too?" Wired April 9, 2002
  6. ^ Chicago:2600 Press Page[dead link]
  7. ^ Staff. "Man Charged With Storing Cyanide in Chicago Subway" Los Angeles Times March 12, 2002
  8. ^ Gibson, Ray; Matt O'Connor (March 14, 2002). "State probes firm in cyanide case - Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  9. ^ BOP Inmate Locator