Feeds

Scottish botnet master jailed for 18 months

Controlling the net from mum's front room

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

'Being nosy, nothing more sinister than that'

Anderson's defence barrister, Simon Ward, said his motivation in the spying and data thefts was "a feeling of power that comes from control over something that other people don't know you have control over".

"It was the defendant being nosy, nothing more sinister than that," he said.

Ward said Anderson became interested in hacking in his early 20s, when a series of panic attacks led him to spend more time indoors.

By the time he commissioned Breplibot, Anderson was already on bail for orchestrating distributed-denial-of-service attacks against websites belonging to the British National Party and the Countryside Alliance. He was also running an unsuccessful legitimate computer security business, Opton-Security, which provided police with a vital link in their investigation of his malware operation.

In June 2006 security staff at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford found that a compromised machine on their network was being steathily controlled by a rented server at Fasthosts in Gloucester.

PCeU, led by Detective Constable Bob Burls, found that the server was registered to Winston Lay, and associated with an email address, warpiglet@gmail.com. Inquiries at Paypal and eBay in turn linked the email address to Matthew Anderson, and to Opton-Security, his legitimate business.

After four days of warranted interception of traffic to the Fasthosts server, Anderson, Lay and Artturi Alm, the Finnish virus writer, were all arrested in coordinated raids. Alm pleaded guilty in Finland in 2008 and was jailed for 18 days. Lay was not charged and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on his part.

DC Burls, whose investigation was formally commended by Judge Rivlin, said: "The internet means criminals have increased opportunities to commit crime internationally, however I'd like to reassure the public that the international law enforcement and anti-virus companies response is increasingly sophisticated.

"As this case shows, criminals can't hide online and are being held to account for their actions. A complex investigation like this demonstrates what international cooperation can achieve."

"Xaeti", an online friend of Anderson's, who according to the prosecution "was apparently a good programmer of viruses and an active member of online Trojan-producing community", also had control of the Fasthosts server. Believed to be a UK resident, he has not been traced. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
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?
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
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
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.