Herts Teen Admits Mass Cyber Attack

21 October 2016, 16:17 | Updated: 21 October 2016, 16:22

A Hertfordshire student who created an internationally-used cyber-crime tool from his own bedroom has pleaded guilty to three offences at London's Old Bailey.

Following a complex investigation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) Regional Cyber Crime Unit, officers tracked down Adam Mudd, 19, of Toms Lane, Kings Langley.

Mudd admitted two counts of computer misuse which involved creating and administrating the stressor tool - which was used by other cyber criminals internationally - and a count of money laundering in relation to the financial gains he's made as a result. Also during his interviews he admitted security breaches against his own college while he was a pupil studying computer science.

The Central Criminal Court today (Friday) heard that Mudd had developed 'stressor' tools to flood the computing networks with data, creating a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack which prevented them from functioning and left the systems vulnerable to compromise.

Mudd carried out 594 DDOS attacks against 181 individual IP addressed between December 2013 and March 2015.

The teenager also sold the tool on the internet and ran his stressor as a business, gaining proceeds from its distribution to other cyber criminals - analysis of the tool showed that it had been used by others in more than 1.7million denial of service attacks against victims worldwide.

In total, Mudd had benefited to the tune of approximately $385,000 worth of ill-gotten gains - though the final amount will be confirmed in future confiscation hearings.

Police from the Regional Cyber Crime Unit, supported by the National Crime Agency, were alerted to Mudd's criminal activity and he was arrested at his home, where devices including his computer were seized for investigation.

Detective Inspector Martin Peters of ERSOU's Regional Cyber Crime Unit said:

"My team has learnt a lot from this complex investigation, due to the nature of the criminality, the sheer volume of data and the global reach of the offending.

It is important that this case sends out a clear message to others who may be tempted by - or who are already engaging in - cyber scams from the comfort of their own bedrooms. Criminality is now no longer solely on the streets, but that does not mean we cannot trace you and bring you to justice.

We will work with law enforcement agencies, locally, regionally, nationally and globally to combat this criminality.

"Adam Mudd's case is a regrettable one, because this young man clearly has a lot of skill, but he has been utilising that talent for personal gain at the expense of others.

We want to make clear it is not our wish to unnecessarily criminalise young people, but want to harness those skills before they accelerate into crime. We are working at local, regional and national level with partners to educate people about cyber-crime and personal safety online, as this is our best chance of preventing offences from being committed and beating cyber-crime."

Mudd pleaded guilty to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act and a further offence of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He will be sentenced in December.