Hacker jailed for eight months after attacking police, council, charity and porn websites

A jobless computer hacker was jailed today for eight months after launching a mass cyber attack on The Met Police, Tory Party and British Airways websites – from his bedroom in his parents’ house.

Ian Sullivan, 51, flooded the internet servers for police forces, councils, charities and even porn sites as part of a campaign run by an international hackers’ group called Anonymous.

Victims also included Merseyside Police , Trafford and Wirral councils and Crimestoppers during his five week spree, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Other sites targeted were the Bulgarian government and a political party in the oil rich West African country of Gabon, while children’s charity CAFCASS had to close for three days because of the chaos.

The tech-wizard targeted official websites in revenge for his children being taken away in the late 1990s and Sullivan had ‘nursed that grievance’ for many years.

He also infiltrated random sites including one featuring graphic videos of beheadings and executions related to Islamic extremism.

Sullivan, who lives in his elderly parents’ semi-detached home in Farmer Place, Bootle , had admitted 21 charges of committing unauthorised acts with intent to impair the operation of or access to a computer after police from the National Crime Agency’s cyber crime unit linked the attacks to his Twitter account.

They seized his computers and discovered he was part of a worldwide internet hackers’ fraternity called Anonymous, which uses a Guy Fawkes mask as its emblem.

Barristers defending Sullivan described him as ‘a misguided nuisance rather than a malicious menace’ who had wanted to protest against ‘social and political wrongs’.

Sullivan inflicted £3,000 worth of damage after attacking the website of the Children and Family Court Support and Advisory Service (Cafcass).

The site was taken down for around three days leaving thousands of parents and children unable to access vital information and support.

He also attacked the British Association of Social Workers site, costing the organisation £11,942 in lost man hours and increased security.

Steven Pye, senior operations manager at the NCA’s national cyber crime unit, said: “Sullivan’s actions are likely to have deprived vulnerable people access to important information, ranging from where to get support on family breakup, to reporting crime anonymously. “

Judge Graham Morrow jailed Sullivan for eight and a half months, and told him: “The need for a deterrent sentence is obvious. Modern life is becoming more and more dependent on the internet and the public is rightly concerned about the security of websites.

“The message must be sent out by the courts that attacking websites will result in custodial sentences. You knew what you were doing and you intended to cause disruption to those websites.

“These offences had the potential to cause great damage to the community at large. They are offences which are relatively easy to commit by anyone with the relevant expertise. They are increasingly prevalent and the public is entitled to be protected from them.”

Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/hacker-jailed-eight-months-after-10434724

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