A British teenage computer hacker has been jailed for two years for masterminding global distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks from his bedroom.
Adam Mudd, now aged 20, created the Titanium Stresser program, which was used to carry out more than 1.7 million attacks on various websites.
Mudd, who was just 16 and still at school when he made the malware, raked in the equivalent of more than £386,000 (€456,000) in Bitcoins and US dollars by selling the program to cyber criminals, who went on to use it to target websites including Microsoft and TeamSpeak.
The Old Bailey heard that Mudd, who has autism, was more interested in “status” than financial gain when he began distributing his malicious software from his parents’ home in Hertfordshire.
As well as selling the malware to cyber criminals, Mudd carried out nearly 600 DDoS attacks himself, targeting West Hertfordshire College, where he studied.
Sentencing Mudd to two years in a young offenders institution after he admitted computer hacking and money laundering, Judge Michael Topolski QC rejected pleas from the defence to suspend the sentence.
“I am satisfied that notwithstanding the defendant’s condition, he knew full well he was committing serious crime and, in doing so, was taking a risk with his Liberty,” Topolski said.
“Yet he continued with his illegal activities for some time.
“I am entirely satisfied that you knew full well and understood completely this was not just a game, a game for fun. It was a serious money making business, and that your software was doing exactly what you had created it to do.
“I am unable to suspend this sentence in the light of the time span of your offending, the high level of your culpability, and the harm caused.”
Mudd’s defence barrister, Ben Cooper, said his client had been sucked in a world of cyber criminality, and had lost touch with reality after being bullied at school. Copper told the court Mudd had been offered paid work with a cyber security firm since his arrest, and that his client was keen to use his skills to atone for his offending behaviour.
Lauri Love, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is appealing against an extradition order signed last year by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
US authorities have been pushing for Love’s extradition to face numerous charges of cyber hacking. He stands accused of accessing and then stealing vast amounts of data from American agencies including the FBI, the US central bank, the US Army, the Department of Defence and Nasa.
Defence barristers argue that Love, who suffers from severe depression and severe eczema as well as Asperger’s syndrome, is certain to take his own life if he is extradited to the US.