Hacker sentenced for cyber-attacks on high-profile companies

|News, Cyber / online crime

A teenage hacker who helped others to target high profile companies such as Virgin, O2, NatWest Bank and Netflix has been sentenced after facilitating cyber-attacks that crashed their websites.

Jack Chappell of Cheshire was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 19 December after pleading guilty at the same court during an earlier hearing.

Chappell, 19, was initially under investigation for Computer Misuse offences in which he launched several Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) on Manchester College.

During the police investigation into the college attacks, West Midlands Cyber Unit officers searched his address and seized his computer.

The police discovered that Chappell was involved in an online site which sold aids to help other hackers perform global DDoS attacks on an international scale.

Chappell acted as site administrator and sold different levels of DDoS packages at varying prices – dependent upon the size of the website targeted.

Working with others around the world, he processed orders and payments for the packages, trouble-shooted and provided advice.

In some cases, Chappell claimed responsibility for the attacks which happened between 2015 -16, taunting his targets on social media for their failure to deal with them. He was believed to have used the website to personally conduct over 3,000 attacks.

Following his later arrest, Chappell was further charged with four offences relating to cyber-crime.

Today, 19 December, Chappell was given a sentence of 16 months in detention which was suspended for two years.

Hannah Sidaway for the CPS said: “As cyber-crime has evolved, people with specialist skills and knowledge are working to enable hackers to commit attacks, by providing the tools for the job.

“They are as responsible for the loss and damage caused as the individuals pressing the buttons. These attacks are not victimless and cause financial and reputational harm to both businesses and their customers.”

Notes to editors

  • Jack Chappell (dob 13/07/1998) admitted the following:
    • Encouraging or assisting an offence, contrary to section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2007;
    • Conspiracy to do an unauthorised act or acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer or computers, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1997;
    • Doing an unauthorised act or acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer or computers, contrary to section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990; and
    • Entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement, contrary to section 328 (1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  • Hannah Sidaway is Senior Crown Prosecutor for the West Midlands

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