Man guilty of cyber-attack on government and politician’s websites

07/11/2014

A 44-year-old man has today been found guilty of encouraging others to carry out a cyber-attack on the websites of the Home Office and a member of parliament.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard that on 15 June 2012, Mark Johnson from Stoke-on-Trent, posted a distributed denial of service (DDOS) link onto his Twitter feed, which when activated, opened up numerous attacks to the website of the Home Office as well as the personal constituency website of Theresa May MP.

The attacks overloaded both sites and this meant that over a two day period both websites functioned with reduced efficiency until normal service resumed.

The incident was referred to the police who launched an investigation.

On 6 November 2012, Johnson was arrested at his home address and he was later charged with encouraging or assisting an offence which today h has been found guilty.

Johnson will be sentenced on 5 December 2014 at Birmingham Crown Court

Warren Stanier, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said:

"The criminal justice system views any form of cyber-attack very seriously. Those caught committing such offences will be traced and prosecuted.

"Mark Johnson's actions denied legitimate users the ability to use these two websites which contained important information for the general public.

"Over a two day period, just before the busy summer holiday period, members of the public were unable to access the Home Office website to obtain information on visas and immigration as well as information on policing and crime. Local constituents were also prevented in contacting their local MP for assistance or advice. All this was would have been of great inconvenience to the thousands of users of the sites as well as its administrators who had to bring the service back to normality.

"I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the National Cyber Crime Unit and East Midlands Special Operations Unit who have worked together in partnership with us to track down and gather the evidence against this defendant which was used to bring him to justice".