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Teenage duo sentenced over credit card Ghostmarket

'I will never get a job in IT,' laments hacker

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Two UK teenagers received sentences for repeated hack attacks that stole credit card data and took one online webhost offline.

Zachary Woodham, 19, and Louis Tobenhouse, 18, pleaded guilty to the online offenses in late December, members of the Metropolitan Police Service's Police Central e-Crime Unit said on Monday. Using the hacker alias “Colonel Root,” Woodham repeatedly attacked webhosting company Punkyhosting over several weeks and then sent emails that gloated about his actions.

Police said they eventually identified Woodham as an active participant in Ghostmarket, an online marketplace for stolen wares that also offered tutorials on online scams. Police searching the teens' computers found data for thousands of compromised payment cards and evidence that they targeted online casinos, betting companies and other online firms. Woodham also used some of the stolen cards to pay for access to premium chat lines that he owned.

In March, four people affiliated with Ghostmarket received a combined 15 years in prison. Those sentenced included Nick Webber, then 19 years old, whose computer contained details of thousands of stolen credit cards. He was busted in October 2009 after trying to use a counterfeit credit card to pay for a hotel stay.

Webber and fellow accomplice Gary Kelly, 21, received five years in prison, while cronies Ryan Thomas, 18, received four years, and Shakira Ricardo, 21, was imprisoned for 18 months. Police at the time said Ghostmarket boasted 8,000 members and facilitated a range of crimes including the sale of stolen credit card and personal details.

Woodham and Tobenhouse posted tutorials on Ghostmarket that gave advice on hacking into company websites, committing fraud and evading capture by authorities, police said.

Woodham received a sentence of 18 months imprisonment that will be suspended in two years. Tobenhouse was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.

Upon his arrest, Tobenhouse said: “I will never get a job in IT now.” To which we say: not necessarily. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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