A skilled computer hacker who launched cyber attacks on the websites of Kent Police and Oxford and Cambridge universities has been jailed for two years.
Lewys Martin made a series of attempts to bring down the websites, causing widespread disruption.
The 21-year-old former Canterbury College student, of Atkinson Road, Hawkinge, looked shocked by the sentence, exclaiming: “Two years?”
Judge Charles Byers told him: “The sentence passed must reflect society’s distaste for this type of crime.
"Your efforts were persistent. They were sophisticated, they were deliberate and planned.”
Martin admitted five offences of unauthorised modification of computer material, two of securing unauthorised access to computer material with intent and two of making, supplying or obtaining articles for use.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Martin, formerly of Dover Road, Deal, contacted BBC South East Today on February 1 last year and told the newsdesk he had hacked into the Kent Police website, which has about 200,000 hits a month.
The Denial of Service (DOS) attack began that morning. Every time the internet provider address was blocked, Martin, using the identity “sl1nk”, switched to another.
“As a result, the server was entirely unusable and had to be shut down,” said prosecutor Martin Yale.
“In total, the attack lasted from 9.45am to around lunchtime. The server was shut down for 30 minutes.
“The following day there was a further attack, causing the server to run very slowly.” It lasted 14 minutes.
Kent Police estimated they wasted 35 man hours responding to the attack and containing it.
Between January 29 and February 1 last year, Martin caused disruption to the Cambridge and Oxford University websites by overwhelming them with requests for information.
He also disrupted Oxford University’s website in March 2011.
Martin also contacted businessman David Bradley and told him his personal information was available on the internet as a result of a Trojan virus on his computer.
Martin said he felt sorry for Mr Bradley and had changed his password to his bank account to prevent others accessing it. He then gave him the new password.
"Your efforts were persistent. They were sophisticated, they were deliberate and planned” - Judge Charles Byers
As a result, Mr Bradley had to cancel all of his bank cards and order replacements.
Police went to Martin’s home on February 3 last year and seized his computers, along with a list headed “Possible Targets”, which included BBC, Army, Kent/Met Police, MI5/6, Channel 5, CIA, Pfizer, Sony Again, Major news organisations and HMBC.
Speaking after sentencing, investigating officer, DC Nicky Holland-Day, said: ‘Cyber attacks are a nuisance and cause aggravation as well as costs to countless private and public organisations up and down the country.
"Most websites have systems in place to prevent them being compromised, and none of those attacked in these instances suffered any more than a temporary disruption.
"However, those who try to carry out these attacks will be traced and brought before the courts, like Martin, to face the consequence of their actions."