The Inquirer-Home

Man jailed for computer crimes creates panic in IT class

Teacher loses job and appeals
Mon Mar 04 2013, 13:46
A man behind bars

TEENAGE CARD-CRACKING IDENTITY THIEF Nicholas Webber has made a splash in prison by hacking into his new home's information technology (IT) systems.

Webber, 19 at the time of his arrest, ran the infamous Ghostmarket.net forums, a place where credit card minded people could hang out, and was handed a five year prison term in 2011.

Webber was prosecuted along with four others, and the police said that Ghostmarket was a sophisticated school for scoundrels that apparently was used by over 8,000 members. Typical content on the forums run by Webber included discussions on the best way to phish and a "carded" catalogue of websites that had been turned over.

The five defendants reportedly lived a lavish lifestyle, no doubt helped by 130,000 compromised credit card numbers worth a potential £15.8m, until their arrests.

According to the Metropolitan Police a search of Webber's home uncovered a company and a "how-to" guide for committing various criminal offences using computers.

"These defendants were accomplished cyber criminals, engaged in the systematic mass infection of computers in homes and businesses in the UK and overseas," said detective inspector Colin Wetherill of the Met Police Central e-Crime Unit at the time.

"The arrest, prosecution and conviction of these individuals represents a significant step forward in our efforts to tackle cyber crime and reduce the harm it causes."

Flash forward a bit and Webber was sitting taking part in a computer class at his gray bar hotel. While there he hacked into the prison's IT systems and caused no small amount of panic and finger pointing.

The bad end of the stick in this affair ended up pointed at his teacher, Michael Fox, who was employed by Kensington and Chelsea College and apparently had no knowledge of the computer skills of his charge.

Some disciplinary machinations happened and Fox was let go. Last Friday in an employment tribunal he argued his case, saying that it was not his idea to put the recently incarcerated multi-million quid teenage cyber crime genius into a prison based computer class that he was teaching.

We don't really know what went down in the class, but according to the people who hold the keys and wear the hats, it wasn't a whole lot.

"At the time of this incident in 2011 the educational computer system at HMP Isis was a closed network," said a spokesperson for the prison service.

"No access to personal information or wider access to the internet or other prison systems would have been possible."

Fox's tribunal hearing was adjourned until April, according to the Daily Mail. µ

 

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