Feeds

UK hacker jailed for nicking PayPal, banking data from MILLIONS

But York-based cybercrook only made £2.4k, court hears

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A UK cybercrook has been jailed for 26 months following his conviction for stealing millions of banking and PayPal identities, the Southwark Crown court confirmed to the Reg.

Edward Pearson, 23, from York, used information-stealing malware to harvest eight million personal identities between January 2010 and August 2011, the court heard. The vast majority of the information covered only names, addresses and dates of birth. However he also apparently managed to get his hands on compromised Paypal accounts and 2,700 bank cards.

The Daily Mail's report said Pearson had written a Python script to download the details of 200,000 PayPal accounts, obtaining names, passwords and balances in the process. He was said to have used variants of the ZeuS and SpyEye Trojans to steal personal information from PCs he managed to infect.

Pearson might have been able to cash out the compromised accounts and make hundreds of thousands in ill-gotten gains. But in the event he actually only made £2,400 before his 21-year-old student girlfriend, Cassandra Mennim, used stolen credit cards to book rooms at two upmarket York hotels, transactions that put police of the trail of the pair. Investigators then linked Pearson's email address to an online identity, G-Zero, which he was purported to have used on underground hacking forums.

After pleading guilty to fraud, Pearson was jailed for 26 months at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court. Mennim, from Newcastle, who admitted two counts of obtaining services by deception, has been placed on probation for 12 months, the York Press reports.

Pearson also is also allged to have hacked into Nokia’s network back in August 2011, prompting the telecoms giant to shut down its internal network for two weeks, the Daily Mail adds. The incident is not reckoned to have resulted in any incidents of fraud and did not form part of the charges against Pearson.

In sentencing Pearson, Judge Ms Recorder Ann Mulligan accepted that his primary motivation was not financial gain while roundly condemning his actions.

"This was a very sophisticated crime, in which you managed to access highly confidential information and put many many individuals at risk of attack," she said.

"I accept that you didn’t sell this information, but you shared it with other computer programmers, and you had no way of knowing how they might use this information. This stupendous criminality was not about financial gain, but about an intellectual challenge," she added.

A spokesman at Southwark Crown court listing's office confirmed the sentences. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.