Computer expert jailed after hacking into people’s webcams and filming them
By Daily Mail Reporter
A computer expert who hacked into his victims’ webcams and filmed them as they sat in front of their screens has been jailed for 18 months today.
Power mad Matthew Anderson bragged about how he watched a PC user burst into tears as he made changes to her system remotely.
Investigators found the 33-year-old father-of-five had downloaded intimate photographs, job applications, CVs and sensitive medical letter relating to children when he hacked into machines.
The hacker sent out tens of millions of spam e-mails to computers around the world from the PC in his mother’s front room in the Scottish Highlands.
When the victims opened an attachment in the mails it released a virus - enabling him to make changes from his machine.
In an online conversation with another hacker, Anderson boasted how he had secretly filmed one of his victims bursting into tears.
He wrote: ‘Changed her screen about a bit and she started to cry lol’, Southwark Crown Court was told.
The father-of-five was eventually caught after boffins at Oxford University realised someone had hacked into a workstation at the city’s John Radcliffe Hospital and passed the details to police.
The ponytailed hacker was today jailed for 18 months after he admitted causing unauthorised modifications to computers.
Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC accepted Anderson had only made £12,000 from his hacking activities through selling email addresses to an associate as business leads.
He said: ‘There is no evidence that any of the material has been used for the purposes of blackmail.
‘It would seem therefore that your motivation throughout, apart from the relatively small sums of money that you obtained for the business leads was the pleasure and satisfaction that you derived from such a massive intrusion into the personal lives of so many others, and also the sense of power that that intrusion gave you.’
Prosecutor Hugh Davis told the court that between September 2005 and June 2006, the defendant sent ‘cleverly disguised emails, measured by the million’ to computers worldwide.
His speciality was hiding untraceable codes for computer viruses written by a fellow hacker inside spam emails, which were then sent to hundreds of thousands of addresses at a time.
Once the emails were opened, Anderson was able to ‘hijack’ the victim computers by uploading ‘backdoor’ programmes onto them.
‘The evidence is that this facility was systematically exploited by the defendant. On his own hard drives he has filed, in an organised manner, a huge volume of highly personal data secretly harvested from the computers of others.
‘It is difficult to conceive of greater invasions of privacy.
‘A snapshot of such data includes intimate photographs, job applications, CVs, sensitive medical letter relating to children and real-time control of webcams and downloading images from webcams.’