Feeds

Dating site hacker avoids jail

No love lost

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A Nottinghamshire man who attacked the website of London dating agency loveandfriends.com has avoided imprisonment.

Matthew Byrne, 38, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was given a suspended sentence of eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at a sentencing hearing at London's Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday. He was also sentenced to two years supervision order after pleading guilty to computer hacking offences (unauthorised modification of a computer contrary to section three of the Computer Misuse Act 1990) at an earlier hearing in September.

Byrne was charged in May following a year-long investigation by officers at the Computer Crime Unit at Scotland Yard over an August 2004 attack on loveand friends.com. He used brute force methods to find easily guessable passwords in order to gain illicit access to four profiles on loveandfriends' database.

These profiles were subsequently defaced. Byrne then made demands for payment in exchange for holding off on threats to delete the firm's database. Andy MacCabe, managing director of loveandfriends, said at the time that the attacker only had member level access to four profiles with weak passwords. The hacker did not at any time gain access to the loveandfriends financial database or web servers despite threats to the contrary.

Byrne was charged with extortion over these demands but these charges were subsequentally dropped. After tracing Byrne to his then home in Sheffield, Met Police officers recovered evidence that he was responsible for writing the Mirsa-A and Mirsa-B mass mailing worms, which posed as messages from campaign group Fathers 4 Justice. The campaign group condemned the attack.

In sentencing Byrne, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin commended the investigative work of DC Billington and DC Sheikh. Byrne's offences were on the cusp of meriting a custodial sentence, Judge Rivlin said. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.