Hacker pleads guilty to attacks on UK Police, Oxbridge university websites

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford. Image from ShutterstockA 21-year-old British man has pleaded guilty to charges that he attempted to bring down a number of websites, including those belonging to Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as the site belonging to the Kent Police force who ultimately arrested him.

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.

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 a police statement, the university and police websites were only temporarily disrupted and were not compromised during the attack.

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Nevertheless, prosecutor Ken Goss said that both universities estimated that they spent approximately two weeks’ worth of man hours, dealing with the attacks.

At Maidstone Crown Court, Martin pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges:

  • five counts of “unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of or prevent/hinder access to a computer”
  • two counts of “unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences”
  • one count of “unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offences”
  • one count of “unauthorised access to computer material”

Martin is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Hopefully, if you are a regular reader of Naked Security, you will know by now that denial-of-service attacks are against the law in many countries around the world, and realise that the consequences of participating in such attacks can result in a prison sentence.

Just because something is easy to do via the internet, doesn’t mean it should be done.

Image of Oxford Radcliffe Camera image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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