Teenage Hacker Jailed

Adam Mudd has been jailed for two years for setting up a computer hacking business that caused chaos worldwide.

At 16 he created the Titanium Stresser program, which can be used to attack websites by flooding them with requests until the website crashes. This was used in more than 1.7m attacks on websites including Minecraft, Xbox Live and Microsoft.

He earned £400,000 in US dollars and bitcoins from selling the program to cybercriminals.

Mudd pleaded guilty and was sentenced at the Old Bailey. The judge, Michael Topolski QC, said the effect of Mudd’s crimes had wreaked havoc “from Greenland to New Zealand, from Russia to Chile”. He said that the sentence must have a “real element of deterrent” and refused to suspend the jail term. “I’m entirely satisfied that you knew full well and understood completely this was not a game for fun,” he told Mudd. “It was a serious money-making business and your software was doing exactly what you created it to do.”

The court heard that Mudd, who lived with his parents, had previously undiagnosed Asperger syndrome and was more interested in status in the online gaming community than the money.

Mudd admitted to security breaches against his college while he was studying computer science. The attacks on West Herts College crashed the network, cost about £2,000 to investigate and caused “incalculable” damage to productivity, the court heard.

On one occasion in 2014, the college hacking affected 70 other schools and colleges, including Cambridge, Essex and East Anglia universities as well as local councils.

There were more than 112,000 registered users of Mudd’s program who hacked about 666,000 IP addresses, of which more than 52,000 were in the UK.

He developed the distributed denial of service, or DDoS, software from his bedroom, and started selling it to criminals when he was at school aged 16.

At his sentencing hearing, the court heard the Titanium Stresser programme had 112,298 registered users.

One hacker can cause a great deal of damage intentionally or otherwise and there appears to be a community of hackers sharing knowledge and software.

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