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Computer hackers in virus plot are jailed

Date: October 08, 2005
Source: news.telegraph
By: Paul Stokes

Two British hackers who infected thousands of computers with a virus in a transatlantic plot were jailed yesterday.

Andrew Harvey, 24, and Jordan Bradley, 21, were trapped by an international investigation into the spread of the "TK Worm".

They were arrested at the semi-detached homes where they lived with their parents in Co Durham as part of a gang which communicated through e-mails and chatrooms.

The damage caused by their activities was estimated at £15,000 and Newcastle Crown Court was told that their real motivation was "control" rather than financial gain.

Once an infected computer connected to the internet it automatically linked to others under the control of the gang members who were able to send commands, including ordering it to scan other computers and websites.

Harvey was said to have logged on to a computer in Texas and used it as a server to gain access to 38,000 connected machines.

Although he was not the author of the TK Worm he was responsible for writing a code which "tweaked the original recipe".

After investigations in America and by Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, simultaneous raids were made on homes, including those of Harvey, in Sherburn Village, and Bradley, in Darlington. They were arrested in 2003 and admitted conspiracy to cause unauthorised modifications of computers with intent between Dec 31, 2001, and Feb 7, 2003.

Harvey, who is unemployed, was jailed for six months and Bradley, an apprentice electrician who had just started a university course, was jailed for three months.

Sentencing them, Judge Beatrice Bolton said: "I have accepted that there was no financial gain or motive and that has substantially reduced the length of the sentence."

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