Teen appears in court over alleged ‘bitcoin blackmail’ in 2015 TalkTalk hack

A TEENAGER has appeared in court charged with hacking and blackmail offences in relation to the cyber attack on TalkTalk in October 2015

19-year-old Daniel Kelley, from Llanelli, Wales, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, according to a report at The Guardian. He was accused of demanding payment of 465 bitcoins (around £216,000) from TalkTalk to stop the attack.

The court heard that Kelley is also accused of launching similar campaigns against lighter firm Zippo and an educational business in Queensland, Australia, again demanding bitcoins. In total, he is charged with having demanded £276,300 from the affected businesses.

Fourteen charges were read out against Kelley, eight for blackmail, four for computer hacking offences and two for fraud offences.

Kelley was arrested in November but was only officially charged by Scotland Yard detectives on Monday, no doubt as they sought to gather evidence for the case.

Kelley did not enter a plea and was placed on conditional bail ahead of a further court appearance on 10 October.

TalkTalk confirmed that the company had been involved in the police investigation and said it is pleased that the case is progressing.

“We have co-operated fully with the police investigation and we are gratified that this has resulted [in] charges being brought. As this is now a full criminal prosecution, we cannot comment further.”

Five people were arrested after the attack on TalkTalk last year. No charges have been brought against anyone else, so it remains to be seen whether others were involved to the extent where legal action will be instigated.

The hack caused huge damage to the company financially and in terms of reputation. CEO Dido Harding estimated costs of as high as £35m to deal with the fallout from the incident.

“We expect that the one-off impact of this criminal attack will be £30m-£35m. It’s far too early to tell the impact on the business in the long run,” she said last year.


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