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Fake student hacker avoids jail over ID theft scam

Faux uni man installed password-cracking hack attack

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A computer hacker who posed as a student and used key-logging software to break into the email accounts of genuine students has been ordered to pay £21,000 in compensation and ordered to complete a 200-hour community service order.

Daniel Woo, 23, a Bulgarian resident in London, avoided going to jail but received an eight-month suspended sentence at a sentencing hearing at London's Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday. Woo, who admitted to hacking offices contrary to the Computer Misuse Act, was caught in the act of installing password-capturing software at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies by IT staff back in November 2006.

Police from the Metropolitan Police Service's Police Central e-Crime Unit were called in to investigate and quickly established that Woo was not a student and had no business being on campus. A subsequent investigation revealed that Woo had misused password-cracking software called Cain and Abel to capture network data and crack student email passwords.

Woo used access to student email accounts to identify and target bank accounts linked to these email address. Police were able to establish that a number of these compromised accounts were subsequently the victims of fraud.

Upon initial questioning, Woo denied everything, a line that crumbled once eyewitness accounts and CCTV records showed he had visited the University of London campus on at least 10 occasions. Officers were later able to establish that Woo had carried out the same scam at the University of Coventry.

The court banned Woo from any university or college premises without police permission for a year and ordered him to serve two years on probation.

A Met Police statement on the case can be found here. ®

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