NullCrew's Canadian telco hacker thrown in the clink for four years

Teenage crimes lead to adult punishments

4 Reg comments Got Tips?

A member of the NullCrew group has been jailed for 45 months after pleading guilty to bag a reduced sentence.

Timothy Justin French, aka Orbit, 22, was part of NullCrew – itself an offshoot of Anonymous. The gang gained notoriety with a series of high-profile hacks in 2012 and 2013, when French was 17, including hitting websites run by the US Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization, and America's Public Broadcasting System.

French was caught in 2014 after an FBI informant befriended the hacking team on Twitter, Skype, and Cryptocat. After many conversations, and by tracing connections, the Feds were led to French's home in Tennessee, US, where he was arrested without incident.

"The defendant played a central role in an extensive, deliberate, and destructive hacking campaign that inflicted widespread and serious harm to businesses, governments, non-profits, and thousands of individuals," said Assistant US Attorney William Ridgway on Tuesday.

"He disseminated online the usernames, email accounts, and passwords for thousands of individuals, which not only violated their privacy and sense of online security, it exposed them to financial fraud and identity theft."

French was facing 10 years in prison, as well as a huge fine, but agreed to plead guilty [PDF] to avoid a lengthy trial and land a lesser sentence. He admitted to stealing data on 12,000 customers of a Canadian telecommunications provider, hacking into servers of numerous businesses and at least one university, and causing $792,000 worth of damages. He and his fellow miscreants used VPNs and compromised servers to launch their cyber-attacks.

Most of the other members of NullCrew remain at large, although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested one other suspect in 2014, an unnamed minor, at about the same time as French. The group appears to have stopped hacking, or at least has stopped broadcasting that it is. ®


Keep Reading

Huawei to the danger zone: Now Uncle Sam slaps it with 16 charges of racketeering, fraud, money laundering, theft of robot arm and source code

Updated CFO – and daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei – Meng Wanzhou named in fresh criminal indictment

Online fraud prevention biz fails to prevent CEO's alleged offline fraud

Security upstart NS8, which raised $123m in funding, let its leader have sole control over revenue records

Anatomy of a business email scam: FBI dossier details how fraudster pocketed $500k+ by redirecting payments

Electrolux, construction biz fooled into handing over money funneled out of the US to South Africa

Bulgarian phishing gang member who lived with his parents jailed for part in £40m fraud ring

37-year-old was extradited to Blighty to stand trial

Your 2.3m Instagram fans won't stop the FBI... Web star accused of plotting to launder millions from cyber-crime

Bloke calling himself Hushpuppi extradited, allegedly conspired to steal $100m from English Premier League soccer club among others

One alleged Dridex money-launderer set for US extradition, beams UK's National Crime Agency

They nicked six alleged perps last year but only one was charged

Someone needs to go back to school: Texas district fleeced for $2.3m after staff fall for devious phishing email

FBI probes massive fraud

Reap it in the family: Four brothers accused of cheating Amazon out of $19m in wholesaler fraud caper

Homeland Security swoops on quad who allegedly committed worst US crime of all: Defrauding Big Business

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020