A British man who masterminded a large scale cyber attack on a telecommunications company in Liberia has been jailed for nearly three years.
Daniel Kaye, 30, of Egham, Surrey, was paid $30,000 (£23,000) by a rival company to disrupt the systems of mobile phone company Lonestar between October 2016 and February 2017.
He created a botnet called Mirai #14 whose purpose was to trigger a distributed denial of service (DDoS) assault on the business’s computer network, causing it to spend 600,000 US dollars in remedial action.
Kaye pleaded guilty to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act and to one charge of possessing criminal property and was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday to a total of 32 months in prison.
The court heard how the virus turned thousands of internet-connected devices into “zombies” that overwhelmed Lonestar’s network and costed it tens of millions of US dollars.
He also attempted to hijack part of Deutsche Telekom’s national network, and at the height of his attack, his code disrupted some 1 million mobile phones around the world.
It led to phones in Liberia going offline.
Kaye was extradited back to Britain in August 2017 under a European Arrest Warrant following an investigation involving the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) German counterpart, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA).
Sentencing, Judge Alexander Hugh Milne QC said Kaye had pursued a “large scale unlawful” attack on Lonestar’s computer systems.
“You were paid by a rival company to disrupt and undermine the legitimate business of Lonestar,” he said.
He said that Kaye’s actions were a “cynical and financially-driven attack upon a legitimate business enterprise”.