Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland teen charged in connection with TalkTalk cyber attack

By Nevin Farrell

A north Antrim teenager has been charged in connection with a cyber attack on telecom giant TalkTalk.

The boy, who was 15 at the time of the alleged incident in October 2015, faces two charges.

The teenager cannot be named because of his age and he was not present at Ballymena Youth Court on Wednesday.

He is charged with having 'unauthorised access to computer material' and doing an 'unauthorised act to impair the operation of a computer'.

The full charges read that between October 15 and October 22, 2015, he '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 second charge is that between the same dates he "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 an effect contrary to  the Computer Misuse Act 1990'.

The boy's age was not listed on court documents but he is still a minor.

The hearing type on the court charge sheet was listed as 'Waiting for full file'.

During the short hearing, defence solicitor Garret McCann said his client was not present in court.

The solicitor said there were ongoing issues with legal aid.

District Judge Peter King asked if the case was staying in the Youth Court and prosecutor Sam Magee said that was the intention.

The judge said the case was at the "very early stages" and the case was adjourned to a later date.

A number of other people have appeared in courts in other parts of the UK in connection with the TalkTalk cyber attack.

TalkTalk previously described how it fell victim to a "significant and sustained" attack on its website in October 2015.

The personal data of over 150,000 people was accessed in a breach - and the company was later fined £400,000 for security failings.

The firm said the fallout from the cyber attack cost it £42m - including security upgrades - but later said customer numbers had "bounced back" following an initial dip.

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