A 21-year-old man already jailed for global cyber crime offences has also been sentenced for having indecent images of children on his computer.
Ryan Cleary, of Wickford, Essex, had pleaded guilty to two counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession of indecent images of children at Southwark Crown Court in May, when he appeared for sentencing in relation to Computer Misuse Act offences. The images were found on Cleary's computer by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit as they carried out a forensic examination of the equipment as part of a joint investigation with the FBI into a string of cyber attacks on high-profile organisations in the UK and US.
He was given a three year community service order, a 36-month supervision order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register and complete a sexual offenders treatment programme for the indecent image offences. This is in addition to the 32 months imprisonment he is already serving for four other offences:
– Two counts of unauthorised acts with intent to impair the operation of a computer
– Supplying articles for use in an offence under the Computer Misuse Act
– Two counts of conspiracy to do an unauthorised act with intent to impair the operation of a computer
– Causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to computer
He was also issued with a serious crime prevention order for five years.
Cleary and three others – all members of hacking group Anonymous – met online and created offshoot group LulzSec with a fifth man living in the US and a number of other unidentified people. Together they launched a series of hacking and 'distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks involve often thousands of malware-infected computers simultaneously sending countless requests to a single computer hosting a website, so that it is overloaded and is effectively removed from the web. Their hacks also usually involved confidential data being extracted and published online for others to access.
Cleary assisted the group by allowing the use of his Botnet – a system of malware-infected computers he controlled – to coordinate DDoS attacks on major companies and security agencies, causing significant reputational damage and financial loss estimated to be in excess of £20 million. When PCeU officers arrested Cleary last June, he was in the middle of perpetrating such an attack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency's website. They seized numerous pieces of equipment, including Cleary's computer.