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Man sentenced for cybercrime offences

Following an investigation by Thames Valley Police’s Cyber Crime Unit, a man has been sentenced after he pleaded guilty to a number of computer offences.

Jack Shepherd, aged 22, of Atherton Crescent, Hungerford pleaded guilty to three counts of causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access and one count of obtaining an article intended to use it to commit, or to assist in the commission of Computer Misuse Act Offences.

Shepherd entered a guilty plea at Reading Crown Court on 9 January 2020, and was sentenced at the same court on Monday (8/6) to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year.

Shepherd was using a cybercrime technique called “credential stuffing”, where he utilised computer software to run through a list of usernames and passwords against a target website. The information gained could then be used to access services without payment.

He used this software to access a video games hosting website, taking control of people’s accounts and then selling off player’s characters. He also took control of some people’s social media accounts and their accounts on a creative music upload site.  

Additionally he also used separate software to connect to insecure video cameras connected to the internet. Shepherd would log in to the camera and then use the microphone as a speaker.

The offences happened between 13 October 2016 and 25 September 2017 and involved a number of victims who had their accounts hacked and a number of companies who’s websites were targeted.

Detective Sergeant Phil Walden, of Thames Valley Polices Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Shepherd hacked into people’s accounts invading their privacy, and using their accounts for his own gain and amusement.

“The companies who were targeted also have to spend huge amounts of money in order to prevent these types of crime.

“Thames Valley Police Cyber Crime Unit works with a wide range of law enforcement, government and private sector partners as part of Team Cyber UK to disrupt this type of Criminality.

“We would like to remind the public and businesses to take time to consider their Cyber Security, in particular taking steps to secure their online accounts and internet video cameras, changing default passwords to strong passwords, unique to each account and enabling two-factor authentication wherever possible.

“We would also advise to parents and guardians that if you are aware of your child playing online games, you make sure they are using secure and strong passwords to prevent their accounts being hacked.”

“For more Cyber Protect advice please visit www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware.”

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