Hacker Jake Birchall Avoids Prison Sentence

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Jake Birchall, 18, was recently sentenced to an 18-month youth rehabilitation order and 60 hours of unpaid work for his involvement in Anonymous' "Operation Payback" DDoS attacks.

"Working in conjunction with other members of cyber attack group Anonymous, Birchall targeted online payment website PayPal, as well as Mastercard and Visa," The Telegraph reports. "One strike against PayPal alone cost the site 3.5 million pounds. At Southwark Crown Court ... Birchall, who was 16 at the time of the attacks, admitted conspiring to impair the operation of computers between August 1, 2010, and January 22, 2011."

"Birchall was said to have had a 'great deal of organisational control' over a subset of Anonymous, known as 'AnonOps,' and owned two servers used by the group," writes The Guardian's Josh Halliday. "He described himself as a 'network operator,' according to prosecutors, but would also discuss targets of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks."

"Birchall was one of four who were guilty of Anonymous-led attacks," writes TechWeekEurope's Tom Brewster. "His co-defendants didn’t get off so lightly. Christopher Weatherhead, a 22-year-old, was handed 18 months in prison, whilst Ashley Rhodes was given seven months. The other defendant, Peter Gibson, was given a six-month suspended sentence."