Home Office and FBI website hacker convicted


A 19-year-old man has today been jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for eight months, suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to launching cyber-attacks on government websites in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

On 22 January 2013, Charlton Floate launched a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) on the Home Office website and its associated domains which resulted in the site and domains being taken offline for over an hour.

The police located posts on social media that showed someone using the name @Thisisgame0ver was taking credit for the attack.

This individual responsible for this online handle was later identified as the defendant who was subsequently arrested.

A forensic analysis of Floate's computer revealed that a week before the attack on the Home Office website, he was also responsible for a similar attack on a website for recording internet crime run by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the USA as well as hacking into the computers of two victims based in America.

Police also recovered one hundred and eleven prohibited images of children on the defendant's computer.

He was later charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offence contrary to section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, one count of unauthorized acts with intent to impair the operation of a computer, one count of unauthorized access to computer material and two counts of possessing prohibited images of children.

Victoria Jones, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service views any form of cyber-attack very seriously. Those caught committing such offences will be traced and robustly prosecuted.

"Charlton Floate's actions were designed to cause maximum disruption and therefore denying legitimate users the ability to use these websites which contained important information for the general public.

"Not content with this, he later hacked into and interfered with the computers of two victims in America.

"Today, Floate has had to deal with the consequences of these cyber-attacks as well as the prohibited images of children which were found on his computer."