British Spamhaus DDoS Teen Walks Free

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A British teenager has walked free from court despite pleading guilty to a DDoS attack on IP blacklister Spamhaus which was the largest ever of its kind when it struck in 2013.

Seth Nolan-Mcdonagh of Stockwell, south-west London, was sentenced to 240 hours of community service at Southwark Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty in December to five charges, including offences under the Computer Misuse Act, money laundering and making indecent images of children, but couldn’t be named back then for legal reasons.

He was arrested in April 2013 after masterminding a 300Gbps DNS reflection attack the month previous, which is said to have caused “collateral damage” to large swathes of the internet.

Nolan-Mcdonagh is said to have gone by the online alias ‘Narko’, and was described in court as a “gun for hire” who took websites offline for paying clients, according to the BBC.

He apparently had £72,000 in a bank account at the time of arrest, as well as the numbers of 1000 German credit cards.

Source code used in the attacks was also found on computers in his house, the report claimed.

Nolan-Mcdonagh’s defense team pleaded that he had been suffering from a severe mental illness at the time of the attack.

The judge appears to have agreed, and declined to impose a custodial sentence, claiming that his rehabilitation since then has been “remarkable” – to the point that there’s virtually no chance of re-offending.

Security experts accepted the sentencing but warned others not to expect the same leniency.

“Clearly in this case there were mitigating circumstances that the judge needed to take into consideration when passing sentence,” Bloxx CEO Charles Sweeney told Infosecurity.

“The damage caused by the attack should not be underestimated and I certainly don’t think a precedent has been set here – if caught, hackers should still be prepared to face the full force of the law.”

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