Cyber hacker Daniel Kelley from Llanelli, South Wales was sentenced to four years of imprisonment after a massive hacking attack to telecoms firm Talk Talk and blackmailing former chief executive Dido Harding way back to 2015. After failing to get the GCSE grades he needed to get onto a computer course, Daniel hacked the system of Talk Talk compromising data of 4 million customers which includes names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, telephone numbers, and even credit card details and/or bank details causing stress and anxiety to his victims as well as harm to the businesses,with an estimated loss of £77m.
After the cyberattack in 2015, TalkTalk told all its customers to watch their accounts closely over the next few months. If they see any unusual activity, TalkTalk recommended its customers to contact their bank and Action Fraud to help them with online fraud prevention.
The 22-year old Welsh hacker has Asperger’s syndrome and has suffered from depression and extreme weight loss since he pleaded guilty in 2016 to 11 charges including involvement in a phishing attack where personal data of more than 150,000 customers was stolen. Daniel was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday and will serve his sentence in a young offenders’ institution for four years.
Judge Mark Dennis said in a statement that Kelley hacked computers for his own personal gratification regardless of the damage caused. He went on to blackmail company bosses, revealing a cruel and calculating side to his character.
According to the Met Police, the cyberattack includes hacking the ISP and attempting to blackmail CEO Dido Harding and other executives, as well as hacking his local college, encouraging and assisting hacking, possessing and offering to supply TalkTalk customer and other data and converting proceeds of blackmail from an Australian victim.
Prosecutor Peter Ratliff has described him as a prolific, skilled and cynical cyber-criminal who was willing to bully, intimidate, and then ruin his chosen victims from a perceived position of anonymity and safety behind the screen of a computer.
Thousands of credit card details contained in computer files was also found to be in his possession. According to Daniel, if victims refused to pay him, he would sell their details on the dark web. Mitigating, Dean George QC appealed to the judge not to impose a jail sentence on a young man who suffered with severe depression.