A student who carried out a string of high-profile cyber attacks on the websites of multinational firms has been spared jail. Jack Chappell, 19, of Stockport, committed distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on NatWest bank, the National Crime Agency, Vodafone, the BBC, BT, 02 and Amazon.
DDoS attacks involve crashing websites by flooding them with huge volumes of data. Other firms targeted were T-Mobile, EE, Sprint, the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Verizon. The 19-year-old has now been handed 16 months detention, suspended for two years. In July, Chappell entered a guilty plea to doing unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or being reckless as to impairing, the operation of computers between May 1 2015 and April 30 2016. He also admitted encouraging or assisting an offence in which he acted as an administrator of the website vDos – which offered a subscription service through which subscribers could launch DDoS attacks.
Chappell pleaded guilty to another count of conspiring with Yarden Bidani to do unauthorised acts with intent to impair the operation of computers, namely DDoS attacks on targets including NatWest Online Banking, Pornhub, Netflix, the National Crime Agency, Virgin Media and the BBC. He also admitted entering into or becoming concerned in a money-laundering arrangement in which he monitored credit card payments to vDos knowing or suspecting that this arrangement would facilitate the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by Yarden Bidani, Itay Huri, Jesse Wu or by other persons unknown.
Chappell pleaded guilty last year to a separate case of doing unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of or prevent/hinder access to a computer between December 3 2015 and April 14 2016. Previously, West Midlands Police said the teenager was charged following an investigation led by the force’s Regional Cyber Crime Unit, assisted by Israeli police, the FBI and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre.
They said he allegedly ran a web business supplying malware used in the worldwide attacks and that he ran an online help desk for hackers as part of the operation. The force added that none of the DDoS attacks involved led to the theft or loss of any customer data. Israeli nationals Bidani and Huri have reportedly been arrested in their home country and charged with operating vDos, where subscribers allegedly paid for DDoS attacks.