City of London Police urge parents to be aware of their childrens’ internet usage after teenager hackers sentenced
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Detectives are urging parents to make sure they know more about their childrens’ online activity, after two teenagers were found to have carried out a hacking spree.
A 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of two counts of fraud, two Computer Misuse Act offences and one count of blackmail. He was sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday 21st December 2023. As part of the order, he will have an 18-month supervision requirement, a six-month rehabilitation requirement and a three month intensive supervision and surveillance requirement.
Arion Kurtaj, 18, of Oxfordshire, was given a restricted hospital order for an unlimited period under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and section 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1964. He was handed the order at the same court after a jury found that he had acted to commit numerous computer misuse, fraud and blackmail offences.
An extensive investigation, in collaboration with worldwide law enforcement and private industry partners, revealed that the hacking occurred between August 2020 and September 2022, affecting a number of companies, including telecoms, a computer parts manufacturer and gaming companies.
Detective Chief Superintendent Amanda Horsburgh, from the City of London Police, said:
"This case serves as an example of the dangers that young people can be drawn towards whilst online and the serious consequences it can have for someone's broader future.
"Many young people wish to explore how technology works and what vulnerabilities exist. This can include learning to code, interacting with like-minded individuals online and experimenting with tools. Unfortunately, the digital world can also be tempting to young people for the wrong reasons.
"We would like to thank all the many partners involved in this lengthy and complex investigation for their support and co-operation. We also thank the jury for their patience throughout the long trial."
From the comfort of their bedrooms, both teenagers carried out a series of cyber incursions and Kurtaj continued undeterred, even after having his devices seized, being arrested and granted court bail.
If you are concerned about a child or young person:
Find out more. Before doing anything, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. There’s lots of information and advice for parents and guardians at thinkuknow.co.uk to help you keep your child safe and access support.
Talk to your child. Having a calm and open conversation is one way for you and your child to explore what is happening in an honest and supportive way.
Take action. Discuss your concerns with someone you trust, for example a friend, partner or your child’s school. You can also talk to a professional at the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Talking about it will help you decide the best action to take to ensure your child is safe. If you think your child is in immediate danger call 999. You can also report an incident to CEOP.
Seek support for yourself. Whatever your situation it is likely that you will need support for yourself, as well as for your child. Talk to a friend or relative who you trust, who will listen and support you, or call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
If you have concerns about your own online security, follow the Cyber Aware advice from the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) Cyber Aware. This advice can help you learn the basic skills you need to defend yourself against the most prolific types of cyber attacks.
Kurtaj was charged with six Computer Misuse Act offences, three charges of blackmail, two charges of fraud and one charge of failing to comply with a section 49 notice by the City of London Police in April and September 2022. Following an assessment, he was deemed not fit to stand trial and the jury was directed to decide whether he had carried out the hacks. Following weeks of evidence, the jury said that Kurtaj had committed the hacks. Kurtaj did not appear in court to give evidence
As he was deemed not fit to stand trial, City of London Police will not be releasing a custody image of Kurtaj.