A 19-year-old man today pleaded guilty to breaking the Computer Misuse Act for sending an "email bomb" to his former employer, which caused the company's email server to collapse.
David Lennon of Bedworth, Warwickshire, breached section three of the Act, "causing an unauthorised modification to a computer", and was sentenced at Wimbledon Youth Court to a two month curfew. He must also wear an electronic tag.
In early 2004 Lennon, who was 16 at the time of the incident, sent about five million emails to his former employer Domestic & General Insurance, causing its email server to pack up. The messages appeared to come either from D&G staff or Bill Gates, and included a quote from horror film The Ring:
bUt He DoEsN't KnOw......" "He DoEsN't KnOw WhAt, SaMaRa?" "EvErYoNe WiLl SuFfEr
Domestic & General had ended Lennon's employment with the firm in 2003.
The Met's Computer Crime Unit rolled into action and traced the attack to an address in the West Midlands which was raided on 4 June 2004 and Lennon arrested.
He was originally sent for trial at Wimbledon Youth Court, but on 2 November 2005 the judge ruled there was no case to answer and dismissed the case on the grounds that as an email server is set up with the express purpose of receiving emails, sending it emails, albeit millions of them, could not be considered "unauthorised modification".
The Crown Prosecution Service appealed the verdict and the case was returned to Wimbledon Youth Court where Lennon today pleaded guilty.
Detective chief inspector Charles McMurdie welcomed the first conviction for this type of offence. ®