Egham man jailed for large scale cyber attack that turned devices into ‘zombies’

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Egham man jailed for large scale cyber attack that turned devices into ‘zombies’ Daniel Kaye, 30, was extradited back to Britain in August 2017 under a European Arrest Warrant Share Egham resident Daniel Kaye, 30, was jailed on Friday (January 11) (Image: NCA/PA Wire) Get daily updates directly to your inbox Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email
An Egham man who masterminded a large scale cyber attack on a telecommunications company in Liberia has been jailed.
Daniel Kaye, 30, was paid 30,000 US dollars by a rival company to disrupt the systems of mobile phone company Lonestar between October 2016 and February 2017.
He created a botnet called ‘Mirai #14’, whose purpose was to trigger a distributed denial of service (DDoS) assault on the business’s computer network, causing it to spend 600,000 US dollars (£467,000) in remedial action.
Kaye pleaded guilty to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act and to one charge of possessing criminal property and was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday (January 11) to a total of 32 months in prison.
The court heard how the virus turned thousands of internet-connected devices into “zombies” that overwhelmed Lonestar’s network, costing the company tens of millions of US dollars. Read More Boss of multi-million pound scrap metal business hid stolen jewels in office roof
Kaye was extradited back to Britain in August 2017 under a European Arrest Warrant following an investigation involving the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) German counterpart, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA).
Sentencing, Judge Alexander Hugh Milne QC said Kaye had pursued a “large scale unlawful” attack on Lonestar’s computer systems.
“You were paid by a rival company to disrupt and undermine the legitimate business of Lonestar,” he said.
He said that Kaye’s actions were a “cynical and financially-driven attack upon a legitimate business enterprise”.
Kaye, who was supported in court by his girlfriend, could be seen weeping as the sentence was delivered. Read More Burglar hid in wheelie bin
Prosecutor Robin Sellers told the court how Kaye made a rolling arrangement with a third party who worked for the company Cellcom under which he was paid 30,000 US dollars (£23,000) between late 2016 and early 2017.
The self-taught hacker adapted an existing virus to create a botnet variant called Mirai £14 whose purpose was to trigger DDoS assaults on internet networks.
The court heard that the DDoS attack involved the Mirai code searching out devices that connected to the internet to turn them into “zombies”.
“Hundreds of thousands of internet-ready devices are in effect taken away from their usual use,” Mr Sellers added. What is a DDoS attack?
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to take a website offline by overloading it with Internet traffic from many different sources.
Servers are overwhelmed by a ‘botnet’, which is a huge network of ‘zombie’ devices that are infected with a trojan that can be hijacked and ordered to take part in a cyber attack – without its owners’ knowledge
These devices can then overwhelm servers in a variety of ways, often resulting in sites being slow to load or going down altogether.
The devices became a “conduit for the attack upon the Lonestar servers” with the effect of “overwhelming it with the sheer number of connections”.
Mr Sellers said Lonestar’s servers collapsed and “couldn’t operate properly”.
The court heard that the company estimated its revenue dipped from 84 million US dollars (£65.3 million) to 17 million US dollars (£13.2 million) between October 2016 and February 2017.
Kaye was arrested at Heathrow Airport in February 2017 under a European Police Warrant in relation to interference with the systems of Deutsche Telekom.
He was found to be carrying 10,000 US dollars (£7,800) in cash, which Mr Sellers said he had been paid for his work against Lonestar. Read More

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