Computer hacker jailed after inquiry into cyber-attacks on Skype and Google

A hacker linked to thousands of cyber-attacks on firms around the world, including Skype and Google, has been jailed for two years.

Alex Bessell, 21, was also given a Serious Crime Prevention Order at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday after admitting offences under the Computer Misuse Act at a previous hearing.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Bessell, of Aigburth, Liverpool, was convicted of other offences, including money laundering, linked to cyber-crime.

In a statement issued after the court hearing, the CPS said Bessell was responsible for creating programmes offered for sale, allowing others across the globe to conduct so-called Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and steal data.

The charges against him were authorised after an investigation by detectives at the Birmingham-based West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Commenting on the case, Hannah Sidaway, for the CPS, said: "Bessell was responsible for the creation, use and distribution of computer malware from 2010 onwards, during which time law enforcement have seen this type of criminality grow at a phenomenal rate.

"His actions enabled others across the world to commit thousands of criminal attacks.

"Such activity can result in the compromising of personal data, extortion, loss of valuable data or work, loss of custom for businesses and a high cost to rectify the damage sustained."

Ms Sidaway added: "Bessell's arrest and prosecution was a result of a lengthy and complex police operation, which spanned several countries and involved the collection and analysis of detailed data to identify him."

Alex Bessell court case
Alex Bessell leaves Birmingham Magistrates' Court after a previous hearing (Matthew Cooper/PA)
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