Establishing Digital Trust: Don't Sacrifice Security for Convenience
The UK's Kent Police recently announced that Lewys Stephen Martin, 21, a.k.a. "Sl1ink," pleaded guilty to nine charges in connection with a series of attacks on the Web sites of the Kent Police, Cambridge University and Oxford University (h/t Sophos).
Martin pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized acts with intent to impair operation of or prevent/hinder access to a computer, two counts of unauthorized computer access with intent to commit other offenses, one count of unauthorized computer access with intent to commit other offenses, and one count of unauthorized access to computer material.
"Lewys Stephen Martin was charged last November, following an investigation by Kent Police's Special Branch investigations team and the Kent Police Digital Forensic Unit," notes Sophos' Graham Cluley. "Investigators discovered that Martin had used the online alias 'Sl1ink' when he anonymously contacted the media, claiming to have shut down the Kent Police website."
According to the Kent Police, Martin made repeated attempts in January and February 2012 to take down the Web sites for Cambridge University, Oxford University and the Kent Police. Martin had also attempted to disrupt Oxford University's Web site in March of 2011.https://o1.qnsr.com/log/p.gif?;n=203;c=204650394;s=9477;x=7936;f=201801171506010;u=j;z=TIMESTAMP;a=20392931;e=i
"Cyber crime is a rapidly expanding area of criminal activity and can take many forms," prosecutor Ken Goss said in a statement. "In this case, Martin was attacking not only large organisations, but individuals. Anyone who has been the victim of cyber crime knows how devastating it can be, but for organisations, the impact can be just as damaging, both to their business and their reputation. Both Oxford and Cambridge Universities estimate that around two weeks' worth of man hours were spent dealing with the cyber attacks."
"The attack on ours and other public-facing websites was serious and Martin’s intention was to cause as much disruption and failure as possible," Kent Police detective chief inspector Tom Richards said in a statement. "Kent Police's website is used by the public to access a range of services provided by us and other agencies. Resources had to be taken away from other duties in order to deal with this issue and, of course, any disruption to a website can result in disruption for the communities who view it. ... Anyone who thinks of carrying out these types of attacks will be tracked down and brought before the courts to face the consequence of their actions."