World

5 teenage hackers who hacked their way to notoriety

You are never too young to get into trouble with the law.

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy in Northern Ireland on Monday (Oct 26) over a cyber attack that may have led to the theft of data from among the 4 million customers of British broadband provider TalkTalk, reported Reuters.

TalkTalk's login page on its web site in October 26, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

The attack, which took place last Wednesday (Oct 21), prompted the company to deny accusations of laxity and defend its security by saying that theirs was “head and shoulders” above that of their competitors.

TalkTalk said the attack was not as serious as first feared after a ransom demand was received last Friday (Oct 23),

They did not believe that those behind the attacks would be able to steal money from its customers.

London’s Metropolitan Police, whose cyber-crime unit has been investigating the attack, confirmed that they had arrested a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act Offences.  

This is not the first time that teenagers have made the news for hacking. Here are more examples of teenagers going wild on computer networks.

Istana hacker


Melvin Teo Boon Wei leaving the State Courts on 4 August 2014. He was given 12 months' probation. PHOTO: ST FILE

In 2014, Singaporean student Melvin Teo Boon Wei, was given 12 months' probation after he was convicted of unauthorised use of a computer service by hacking into the Istana website.

The then 18-year-old had used a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack to gain unauthorised access to the servers hosting the Istana's website on  Nov 8, 2013, reported The Straits Times.

He then hacked the site to display the words "Melvin Teo For The Win!" with two drawings of himself and some Chinese characters.

He was the second person that year to be convicted of the same crime.

Delson Moo Hiang Kng, 43, was fined $8,000 for conducting a similar attack on the Istana's website.

Melvin Teo Boon Wei
Melvin Teo Boon Wei
Melvin Teo Boon Wei

Hack for grades


Daniel Soares walking out of the courtroom. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/CBS NEWS
 

Three 17-year-old students were charged in court last Wednesday (Oct 21) after hacking into their school's computers to change their grades and class schedules.

Daniel Soares, Alex Mosquera and Erick Vaysman from Long Island, New York are facing prison time for their offence.

Of the three, Police labelled Soares as the "mastermind" because he physically broke into his school and installed a key logging device to collect logins and passwords remotely, reported CBS News.

Soares faces up to seven years' jail for his crimes while Mosquera and Vaysman face lesser charges because they did not participate in breaking into the school, reported News.com.au.

CBS reported that Mosquera and Vaysman had solicited Soares for favours.

Detective Sergeant John Best of the Suffolk County Police Department said they believed Soares changed his score from a 94 to a perfect score of a hundred.

"Cracka" the hacker


CIA Director John Brennan as he speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.  A teenage hacker had allegedly broken into his personal e-mail account and obtained personal data. PHOTO: AFP

The FBI and US Secret Service have opened criminal inquiries into the hacking of a private e-mail account used by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John Brennan and his family, the FBI said last Thursday (Oct 22).

The investigations followed the posting on social media earlier by the hackers known only as "Crackas With Attitude" about the data stolen from an AOL account, reported Reuters.

Online magazine, Motherboard, spoke to one of the alleged hackers, "Cracka", who claimed to be a 13-year-old student.

They said they did not regret publishing Brennan's e-mail and personal details because they "deserved it for funding Israel".

Intelligence officials said the account was used by Brennan and his family, but was not used to transmit or store government secrets.

"This attack is something that could happen to anyone and should be condemned, not promoted. There is no indication that any (of) the documents released thus far are classified," said a CIA spokesman.

Over 50,000 hacks

A Finnish teenager was convicted in July for more than 50,700 "instances of aggravated computer break-ins", the BBC reported.

Using the nickname Zeekill, the 17-year-old was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and he was ordered to hand over €6,588 (S$10,140) worth of property that he had obtained through his hacking.

Court documents show that the victims of his hacks included Harvard University and MIT.

He had hijacked e-mails, blocked traffic to their websites and also stole credit card details.

The Lizard Hack


Lizard Squad's Facebook page. PHOTO: FACEBOOK SCREENGRAB

Six teenagers in Britain are suspected of using a cyber attack tool to attack a British newspaper, school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers, reported The Guardian.

The teenagers had use a tool called the Lizard Stresser to attack websites and services with a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS).

The DDoS would flood a website with more traffic than it can handle, causing it to temporarily go out of service.

The Lizard Stresser was developed by hacking group Lizard Squad.

It was previously used in 2014 to bring down Sony's Playstation Network and Microbox Xbox Live during the Christmas period that year.

The Lizard Squad sells the Lizard Stresser to anyone who wishes to conduct a DDoS attack on any website or Internet service. 

None of the six teenagers are members of the Lizard Squad, reported The Guardian.

Source: Reuters. The Straits Times, The Guardian, CBS NEws, Motherboard, BBC

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