We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

'Anonymous' hacker too young and troubled to go to jail, judge says

PayPal attacker described as "extremely isolated"

A British teen found guilty of attacking PayPal and other large companies as part of an Anonymous group cyber-campaign would have been sent to jail were it not for his age and troubled personality, a judge has said.

Jake Birchall, 16 years old at the time of the offences and now 18, previously admitted to having taken part in a series of high-profile DDoS attacks on a range of companies between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011, the time of his arrest.

The judge at Southwark Crown Court in London, Peter Testar, sentenced Birchall to an 18-month youth rehabilitation order and 60-hours of unpaid community work, describing the youth on the basis of psychiatric pre-sentencing reports as "profoundly isolated."

"I have to sentence you with the fact that you were under 18 when convicted in mind," explained Judge Testar.

"There's a statement of special needs in your case. You have met the diagnosed criteria for certain conditions," he added without elaborating further.

The attacks were successful enough to have disrupted PayPal to the tune of £3.5 million, it was earlier alleged.

"You played a prominent role in this serious case. Nobody knows quite how much damage was caused, which potentially could have caused a lot more damage," said Judge Testar.

Last week, two of Birchall's informal accomplices in the same 'Anonymous' group attacks, Christopher Weatherhead, 22, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, were sentenced to 18 months in prison, and a suspended 18th month sentence, respectively.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Apple's 2014 highlights: the most significant Apple news of 2014

IDG UK Sites

2015 creative trends: 20 leading designers & artists reveal the biggest influences & changes coming)......

IDG UK Sites

Ultimate iOS 8 Tips: 35 awesome and advanced tips for using iOS 8 on iPhone and iPad