A BRITISH HACKER behind the mega-attack on TalkTalk in 2015 has been sentenced to four years' in a youth detention centre.
Daniel Kelley, 22, was sent down on Monday after pleading guilty to 11 charges of hacking, blackmail, fraud and money laundering in December 2016.
Kelley, from Llanelli, South Wales, was sentenced at the Old Bailey by Judge Mark Dennis and will serve the sentence in a young offenders' institution. In his ruling, Judge Dennis said that Kelley carried out hacking "for his own personal gratification" and did not consider the damage caused by his acts.
Prosecutors described him as a "prolific, skilled and cynical cyber-criminal" who was willing to "bully, intimidate, and then ruin his chosen victims from a perceived position of anonymity and safety - behind the screen of a computer."
Kelley became a "black hat" hacker in his college days after he failed to get the required GCSE grades to complete a computer course.
He was just 16 when he hacked the computer network of his college, Coleg Sir Gar out of "spite and revenge", causing disruption to teaching staff as well as students. Between September 2013 and November 2015, he engaged in a wide range of hacking activities.
He attacked TalkTalk's network in 2015 and stole bank details and email addresses of roughly 157,000 customers. He even used stolen details to blackmail ex-boss Dido Harding and other executives to and demanded a substantial cash payout in Bitcoin.
TalkTalk estimated total loss incurred to the company from the hack to be around £77m.
Despite attacking about half a dozen organisations, Kelly received just £4,400 worth of Bitcoins, despite making demands for around £115,000.
Dean George QC appealed to the court not to impose a jail sentence on Kelly as, since pleading guilty to the offences, he has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and suffered depression and extreme weight loss.
"Kelley is a prolific and ruthless cybercriminal and blackmailer who caused considerable damage, distress, harm and loss to victims worldwide," said Acting Detective Sergeant Rob Burrows, the Met's Cyber Crime Unit Officer in the case and the lead investigator.
"From 2013 to 2015, Kelley embarked on a crime spree online for his own financial gain showing no remorse and was a high risk to the public and businesses."
"His convictions and sentencing today send out a clear message to cybercriminals committing crime anonymously online they will be identified, arrested and prosecuted for their destructive crimes. I encourage all victims of cybercrime to report incidents to Action Fraud." µ
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