Sure, technology made this fraud a lot easier to commit, but technology isn't an intrinsic part of this ploy; he simply used computer algorithms to implement a lightning-fast pump-and-dump scheme.
Basically, what he did was the equivalent of putting out fake advertisements in a newspaper saying that he'd buy a lot of shares of a certain stock at elevated prices. Traders, seeing these ads, get the feeling that this stock is now worth a lot more than what it is trading at, so they start buying this stock at higher and higher prices. This allows him to eventually sell at high prices the shares he had already owned, making a profit. Meanwhile, when these other traders try to answer these ads, they get no answer and are thus left with a ton of overvalued stock.
Pump-and-dump, insider trading, etc. can all screw up the value of stocks, and they need to be prevented for the market to operate "correctly"; that's why there's laws making these schemes illegal. And while laws don't prevent these crimes, they can certainly help in reducing them.