A 20-year-old from Worcestershire has plead guilty to six charges under the Computer Misuse Act and four charges under the Serious Crime Act for creating damaging computer software between January 2012 and November 2014.
Grant Manser sold the damaging software on the dark web for between £5 and £20, which was used by cyber-criminals to crash 224,000 websites worldwide over four years.
Four systems for denial of service (DOS) attacks that included Dejabooter, Vexstresser, netspoof and Refindstresser were discovered in Manser's family home.
Manser was arrested in November 2014 by officers of the West Midlands Regional Cyber-Crime Unit. According to prosecutors, Manser accumulated 12,800 registered users and a turnover of £50,000 during the time that he carried out the scheme. Manser had even begun advertising for staff as the business was doing so well.
Manser's attorney, Jamie Baxter, said that Manser only created and sold the systems to make money and therefore is not a hacker. Manser claimed to have built safeguards into the programs to ensure that organisations on a ‘blacklist' were not attacked including banks, healthcare and government agencies.
“He was only 16 when he started to do this and it was his immaturity and naivety which led him to commit these offences,” Mr Baxter said.
Manser was spared jail time and instead sentenced to two years of youth detention, 100 hours of unpaid work, and £800 in fees.