University hacker loses plea to slash jail term

First published in News

A COMPUTER hacker who brought Oxford University’s website to its knees yesterday lost a bid to cut his prison sentence.

Lewys Stephen Martin, 21, was jailed for two years in May for cyber crimes including an attack on the university’s website in March 2011 which slowed it down so much it could not be used for a number of hours.

The NullCrew “hacktivist” switched IP addresses to continue his attack and later emailed the university to say he had “owned” them before and would strike again. The following January and February he attacked Oxford and Cambridge universities, disguising his IP address, hitting ticket sales for Science Week at Cambridge.

Cambridge said it took two weeks to sort out the problem, while Kent Police was forced to shut down its server after an attack in February losing the force about 35 man hours.

The former Canterbury College student, of Deal, Kent, also conned businessman David Bradley into giving over his bank details.

After being arrested and bailed on February 3 he ordered a pizza from another victim using stolen details.

Martin admitted five counts of unauthorised modification of computer material, two of securing unauthorised access to computer material and one of making, supplying or obtaining articles for use at Maidstone Crown Court.

His lawyers at the Court of Appeal yesterday unsuccessfully argued that his sentence was too long as the websites were only slowed down.

Oxford University spokesman Pete Wilton said: “The university has numerous defences in place to defend against such attacks and appropriate mitigating action was taken. As a result the impact was kept to a minimum and normal service was resumed very quickly.

“No systems or information were compromised as a result of these attacks however, as is the usual procedure following any security incident, all security controls were reviewed following this attack and, where appropriate, improvements have been made.”

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