UK Teen Behind Bomb Hoaxes and Cyberattacks Spared Jail

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

A 16-year-old from Plymouth with mad computer skills has been handed a surprisingly lenient sentence of a two-year rehabilitation order, despite causing chaos with a string of online threats and cyberattacks. After all, you can now get 10 years behind bars for piracy.

The boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, sent a tweet to American Airlines on February 13th last year reading, “One of those lovely Boeing airplanes has a tick, tick, ticking in it. Hurry gentlemen, the clock is ticking.” A similar message was sent by the boy to Delta Air Lines on the same day.

He was also involved in a cyberattack on SeaWorld, which reportedly cost the ever-honourable company around $465,000 (£353,000), as well as ones against the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa, Iraq's foreign ministry and the Chinese government.

District Judge Diana Baker, who found him guilty of two offences under the Criminal Law Act relating to the communication of bomb threats and three offences under Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act relating to denial of service attacks, said, “I think you got carried away, you thought you were cool and clever.” She added that he knew what he was doing.

The boy himself, who hoped to study computer science and join the RAF, said, “I am really sorry for what I have done. I did not know how serious it was. I want to say sorry to my family.” A career in the secret service awaits. [BBC]