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The boy of 15 arrested over the TalkTalk cyber-attack is a baby-faced loner and gaming fanatic nicknamed ‘Vicious’ who rarely leaves his bedroom.
The reclusive youngster is suspected of being behind the huge security breach that has put the banking details of four million households at risk.
Scores of TalkTalk customers have been targeted by fraudsters exploiting the hacked data and the firm’s share price plunged.
The boy was arrested in the pebble-dashed property he shares with his single mother on a rundown estate in Northern Ireland.
His online blog reveals he is obsessed with violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto.
It emerged today that he himself was targeted by hackers who published his personal details on a now-deleted website for young hackers known as ‘skids’ or ‘script-kiddies’, according to The Times.
The hackers abused his closest family members and called the ‘fat b****es along with pictures of him with them.
Neighbours say he was being taught at home after repeated suspensions saw him kicked out of school. ‘He’s always inside, in there 24/7 and up all night in his bedroom,’ said one.
A close family friend said: ‘He never wanted to go to school. He never leaves the house. He never goes and hangs out with other lads of his age.
‘Obviously he is doing something else rather than running around with other 15-year-olds.’
Analysts were last night trawling the data on the boy’s computer in the hunt for other suspects. Police sources say they expect to search further addresses in what is a ‘fast-moving’ investigation.
Much of the boy’s online blog, which contains references to his family, is made up of computer code and it appears to include the email addresses of fellow computer obsessives around the world.
The Mail traced one email address to an imposing detached house in a leafy cul-de-sac in New York state.
From the age of ten, the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has spent hours playing violent video games such as Call of Duty, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto – all of which are unsuitable for young children because of their graphic nature.
A year ago he wrote on his blog: ‘I’m a 14-year-old gamer who one day wants to be a professional Call of Duty player.’
He says he dislikes reading and ‘never really watches TV or movies’. The boy lists gaming under his list of general hobbies.
Neighbours on the estate in Ballymena where he lives described him as a very quiet boy who is almost always in his bedroom.
The estate has strong Unionist links and has murals of the Ulster Volunteer Force.