A young British hacker has been jailed for two years for orchestrating as many as 1.7 million cyber-attacks on the likes of Xbox Live, Minecraft and TeamSpeak.
Adam Mudd, now 20, created a software named Titanium Stresser when he was 16. Not only did he sell the software to cyber-criminals, but also personally indulged in a series of cyber-attacks, including many on his own college servers.
As per news reports, Titanium Stresser earned Mudd close to £400,000 in bitcoins and cash over a period of two years. While he himself launched as many as 600 DDoS cyber-attacks on 181 victims, those who bought the software from him used it extensively on 650,000 users including on Xbox Live and Runescape users, culminating to a total of 1.7 million hacking attempts.
During the proceedings, his lawyer revealed that Mudd displayed an autistic condition, because of which he was bullied extensively in college. He added that 'it was an unhappy period for Mr Mudd during which he suffered greatly. This is someone seeking friendship and status within the gaming community.'
The fact that money wasn't a prime motivator for Mudd and that he indulged in cyber-attacks to gain recognition and acceptance didn't stop the judge from sentencing him. The judge noted that Mudd belonged to a “perfectly respectable and caring family” yet his crimes mirrored those of a global cyber-terrorist. “I’m entirely satisfied that you knew full well and understood completely this was not a game for fun. It was a serious money-making business and your software was doing exactly what you created it to do,” said Michael Topolski QC.
Out of 666,000 IP addresses which were targeted using Titanium Stresser, 53,000 were based in the UK. Cyber-attacks on Mudd's own college, which he perpetrated himself, impacted not only college servers but also those of Cambridge, Essex and East Anglia universities and some local councils.
"It’s important for us to understand why more young people are becoming involved in cyber-crime in order to ensure proper deterrents and alternative opportunities are available for people to enhance their skills and allow them to use positively," said a report published by the National Crime Agency recently. NCA noted that the skill barrier into cyber-crime is lower than ever because of the presence of websites and forums which share cheat codes to get around computer games. On these forums, teenagers get to learn new craft like developing trojans, malware and DDoS software.
The agency added that teenagers who get caught may face up to 10 years in prison, a visit and warning from police or NCA officers, see their computers confiscated, get arrested and may get charged with fines. At the same time, criminal records may also impact their career prospects in future.
Image source: The Mirror