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UK Student Charged Over Global DoS Attacks

An 18-year-old UK student has been charged with supplying malware used in a series of Denial of Service attacks on big-name brands including Netflix, Amazon, BT and NatWest.

Jack Chappell, from Stockport, is alleged to have sold the software as well as run an online helpdesk for his customers.

The charges were brought following an investigation by the West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit, assisted by Israeli police, the FBI and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

A West Midlands Police statement had the following:

“He has been charged with impairing the operation of computers under the Computer Misuse Act, plus encouraging or assisting an offence and money laundering crime proceeds together with an American national.”

The force claimed the software allegedly supplied by Chappell helped cybercriminals attack “millions” of sites, even taking down NatWest’s online banking systems in 2015.

Other websites said to have been targeted include T-Mobile, EE, Vodafone, O2, BBC, BT, Amazon, Netflix, Virgin Media and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Chappell’s is the latest in a long line of cases in which teenage Brits have been accused of online malfeasance.

An NCA report from April claimed that many youngsters are motivated to commit online crimes simply because they relish the challenge and sense of accomplishment, and want to validate their skills with peers.

Many stumble into cybercrime via “modding” and gaming cheat forums and then move on to criminal hacking forums without acknowledging the gravity of the step, the report continued.

It also suggested that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) seems to be more prevalent among cyber-criminals than the general populace.

That possible link will form the center of new research set to be undertaken by the University of Bath’s Centre for Applied Autism Research, in collaboration with charity Research Autism and the cybercrime unit of the NCA.

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