Belfast Telegraph

Antrim teen pleads guilty to being part of TalkTalk hack

By Nevin Farrell

A solicitor for a County Antrim teenager entered a guilty plea on his client's behalf to being part of the high-profile hacking of telecom giant TalkTalk, on Wednesday.

The boy, who was 15 at the time of the cyber incident in October 2015, faces two charges and has admitted one and is denying the other.

The teenager who cannot be named because of his age - and is now 17 - was not present at Ballymena Youth Court.

His defence solicitor Garret McCann said his client was pleading guilty to the first charge he faces.

That charge stated that between October 15 and October 22, 2015, the boy 'caused a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to any program or data held in a computer hosting the website talktalk.co.uk or to enable any such access to be secured at a time when you knew that it was unauthorised contrary to ... the Computer Misuse Act 1990'.

The lawyer entered a not guilty plea to the second charge his client faces regarding the same dates. That charge alleges the defendant 'did unauthorised acts in relation to a computer hosting the website talktalk.co.uk at a time when you knew that it was unauthorised, with intent to impair the operation of a computer or to prevent or hinder access to a program or data held on a computer, or being reckless as to whether the said act would have such effect contrary to ... the Computer Misuse Act 1990'.

Regarding the contested charge, Mr McCann said he believed the case could last a minimum of a week and said "it could come down to a simple issue of 'mens rea'."

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