TalkTalk’s hacker (and blackmailer) pleads guilty

19-year-old told to expect prison sentence.

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

BBC News reports:

A 19-year-old man has pleaded guilty to involvement in the major hack attack of the telecoms firm TalkTalk last year.

Daniel Kelley, from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, pleaded guilty to hacking at the Old Bailey.

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Judge Paul Worsley warned Kelley that, despite having no previous convictions, jail time was “inevitable” and that he should “prepare” himself.

Kelley not only admitted hacking into TalkTalk’s systems to access customer data, but he also sent a blackmail demand to TalkTalk’s attempting to extort 465 bitcoins (approximately £285,000).

Kelley is due to be sentenced on 6 March 2017.

As I explained in a video last month after one of Daniel Kelley’s cohorts admitted to hacking charges related to the data breach, TalkTalk has to bear some responsibility for its incompetence and failure to defend customer data.

The fact of the matter is that TalkTalk’s systems were woefully insecure, and the attack should never have been possible.

The 17-year-old, who has not been named because of his age, has been given a 12 month rehabilitation order by Norwich Crown Court and had his iPhone confiscated.

I think I know which one he’ll find more painful.

Losing an iPhone is one thing, but things are looking bleaker for Kelley.

Kids – don’t hack into companies without their permission. Just because they’re incompetent at security doesn’t give you the right to break in and steal their data. They don’t like it, and neither do the cops.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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