A hacker who took down the Labor candidate’s website in the general election and logged into a school network has been given a suspended sentence.
Bradley Kai Hayden Niblock, 22, was arrested after the Cyber and Digital Crime Unit followed an online crime pattern last year.
Niblock, of Hawcoat Lane, Barrow, has admitted two counts of computer abuse and one count of malicious communications and was sentenced today (June 28) at Preston Crown Court.
The judge sentenced Niblock to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 200 hours of unpaid work and a three-year criminal conduct order.
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Niblock carried out what is known as a denial of service attack on the official Labor campaign website for Barrow during the general election in December 2019.
It was orchestrated via Twitter messages sent by Niblock to organize and coordinate the offense with others capable of carrying out the attack.
On December 3, the attack began and the campaign website became unavailable and appeared offline.
Niblock operated a Twitter profile under the guise of a hacking group, which had around 75,000 followers until his arrest in March of last year.
He used this platform to create the impression of having the capacity to carry out cyber attacks online.
This attracted other potential hackers to contact him through this account.
To prove their abilities, they were asked to perform certain attacks by Niblock. They were asked to target the campaign website during the campaign period.
But following investigations by the Cyber and Digital Crime Unit, Niblock was arrested in March 2020.
Niblock was found with an iPhone, which was seized. It turned out that he was logged into the official Furness Academy Twitter account, which he was not authorized to log in to.
Niblock was also linked to a Snapchat account used to contact a woman and declare that those behind the account were going to ‘ruin her life’.
Detective Inspector Ian Harwood, Head of Police Cybercrime and Digital Crime Unit, said: “Our specialist officers work hard behind the scenes all year round to deter offenders, catch criminals and protect victims.
“This is a specialized unit whose staff are responsible for dealing with exactly this type of offense.
“This offense disrupted a parliamentary campaign during an election period.
“But using the investigative techniques at our disposal, we were able to identify Niblock and produce the evidence needed for a prosecution.
“It shows how serious hacking offenses like this can cause serious problems for organizations and individuals – and we will not tolerate those who seek to participate in this crime.”
Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Cumbria Police.
“Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate and tech-savvy criminals can target anyone, anywhere in the world from the comfort of their own homes – this can make it incredibly difficult to capture and pursue these criminals.
“This is why I funded and launched the Cybercrime and Digital Unit in Cumbria, so that any local criminals targeting the public online can be arrested and brought to justice.
“The team did a great job and I know they will continue to do so.
“The message is clear: Cybercrime will not be tolerated in Cumbria – if you commit an online crime you will be arrested and charged. “
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