Student admits carrying out high-profile cyber attacks

A student has admitted carrying out a string of high-profile cyber attacks on the websites of several multi-national firms.

Jack Chappell, 19, of Stockport, committed Distributed Denial of Software (DDoS) attacks on NatWest bank, the National Crime Agency, Vodafone, the BBC, BT, 02 and Amazon.

DDoS attacks involve crashing websites by flooding them with huge volumes of data.

Other firms targeted were T-Mobile, EE, Sprint, the University of California San Diego (UCSD), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Verizon.

Chappell appeared at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Wednesday where he entered a guilty plea to doing unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or being reckless as to impairing, the operation of computers between May 1 2015 and April 30 2016.

Between the same dates he also admitted three others charges including encouraging or assisting an offence in which he acted as an administrator of the website vDos - which offered a subscription service through which the subscriber could launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

Chappell pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring with Yarden Bidani to do unauthorised acts with intent to impair the operation of computers, namely DDoS attacks on targets including NatWest Online Banking, Pornhub, Netflix, the National Crime Agency, Virgin Media and the BBC.

The teenager also admitted a fourth count of entering into or becoming concerned in a money laundering arrangement in which he monitored credit card payments to VDos knowing or suspecting that this arrangement would facilitate the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by Yarden Bidani, Itay Huri , Jesse Wu, or by other persons unknown.

Chappell pleaded guilty last year to a separate case of doing unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of or prevent/hinder access to a computer between December 3 2015 and April 14 2016.

All matters will be dealt with at his sentencing hearing on September 13.

Judge John Potter ordered a pre-sentence report and warned Chappell that all options, including an immediate custodial term, remain open.

Bail for the defendant was extended until the sentencing date.

Previously, West Midlands Police said the the teenager was charged following an investigation led by the force's Regional Cyber Crime Unit, assisted by Israeli Police, the FBI and Europol's European Cybercrime Centre.

They said he allegedly ran a web business supplying malware that was used in the worldwide attacks and that he also ran an online help desk for hackers as part of the operation.

The force added that none of the DDoS attacks involved led to the theft or loss of any customer data.

Israeli nationals Mr Bidani and Mr Huri were arrested in their home country last September on suspicion of operating vDOS - where subscribers are said to pay for DDoS attacks - before they were later released pending investigation.


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