An 18-year old British hacker is set to be sentenced for carrying out and abetting hundreds of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks around the world.
Jack Chappel used to sell DDoS software to other hackers to help them vandalise popular websites owned by large businesses.
Chappel, a resident of Stockport in Greater Manchester, was arrested in late July for launching and helping other hackers launch DDoS attacks on a large number of websites across the globe, including many in his own country.
The DDoS software that he created was used to crash websites by flooding them with large volumes of data. His targets included websites belonging to NatWest bank, Amazon, the BBC, O2, BT, the NCA, EE, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Netflix and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
Chappel had pled guilty to a number of Computer Misuse Act offences that were perpetrated between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016. He also admitted to running a website vDos-s.com using which he offered subscription packages for DDoS software. Hackers could choose from Bronze, Silver, Gold and VIP hack packages, depending on the scale of damage they intended to wreck on targeted websites.
Chappel's most well-known personal exploit was a DDoS attack on NatWest Bank's website in 2015 which shut down the website for around 50 minutes and disrupted operations. He also conspired with another hacker Yarden Bidani to launch DDoS attacks on Pornhub, the National Crime Agency, Netflix and the BBC.
The list of DDoS attacks that Chappel, now a 19-year-old, launched himself and helped others launch within a relatively short period of time shows how he turned his skills into a full-time cyber crime stint. Even though he never stole sensitive customer data from any of the firms that he attacked, he made a lot of money by monetising his DDoS software creations.
Back in April, a 20-year old hacker named Adam Mudd was jailed for 2 years for orchestrating as many as 1.7 million cyber-attacks on the likes of Xbox Live, Minecraft and TeamSpeak. He admitted to creating a software named Titanium Stresser using which he launched as many as 600 DDoS cyber-attacks on 181 victims.
He used to loan out the software to other hackers who used it extensively on 650,000 users including on Xbox Live and Runescape users, culminating to a total of 1.7 million hacking attempts. In just two years, Titanium Stresser earned Mudd close to £400,000 in bitcoins and cash.
The fact that teenagers are getting increasingly drawn to cyber crime hasn't escaped the attention of the National Crime Agency. The agency believes that the reason behind teenagers getting lured to committing cyber crimes is the presence of websites and forums which share cheat codes to get around computer games.
On these forums, teenagers get to learn new crafts like developing trojans, malware, and DDoS software. As such, the NCA believes that the skill barrier into cyber-crime is lower than ever and that many of them do not view such activities as crimes.
'In some cases when these individuals have been contacted via a home visit, parents and carers are frequently amazed to discover they have been engaging in illegal activity because they spend so much time in their bedrooms,' said a report released by the agency.
The NCA aims to draw away teenagers from the world of cyber-crimes by offering legal and attractive alternatives, educating them about the risks of getting caught and helping them channelize their talents to tackling cyber crime itself.
Image source: Daily Mail