Pair were part of 'TH34t Krew' international hacking group
Two British hackers were jailed today for helping to spread a computer worm that affected thousands of machines around the world, including some at the U.S. Department of Defense.
Jordan Bradley, 22, and Andrew Harvey, 23, were part of an international hacking group, called "TH34t Krew," thatcreated the "TK worm," a Trojan horse that surfaced on the Internet sometime before February 2003 (see "Three suspected hackers arrested in U.K., U.S
Like the wooden horse of Greek mythology that concealed enemy soldiers, Trojan horses are malicious computer programs that are disguised as harmless information and that can make their way on to a computer over the Internet.
Officers from the U.K.'s National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) estimated that the worm caused millions of dollars in damage, infecting 18,000 computers around the world. The program could also take control of computers it infected.
Newcastle Crown Court jailed Harvey, an electrician, for six months, and Bradley, who is unemployed, for three months.
The men, both from northern England, had admitted conspiring to "effect unauthorized modifications to the contents of computers with the intent to impair the operation of those computers," according to authorities.
British police said that in a separate trial held in the U.S. in June, 21-year-old Raymond Steigerwalt from Indiana was jailed for 21 months and ordered to pay the Defense Department $12,000 in restitution for his role in the plot (see "Defense Department hacker gets 21-month sentence").
Detective Superintendent Mick Deats, deputy head of the NHTCU, said organized criminals are increasingly using such worms to commit crime over the Internet.
"Companies are taking the brunt of their attempts to steal money and data, but consumers are also being hit," he said. "This year, 166 companies responding to our survey into the cost of high-tech crime said they had lost over 70 million pounds [$124.1 million U.S.] to viruses, worms or Trojans."