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North Down teen charged with creating a computer virus which took down global institutions


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A North Down teenager has been charged with creating a computer virus which “crashed hundreds of financial institutions” across the world.

The case of 18-year-old Josh Maunder was heard at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court today.

Maunder was charged with 21 offences including 13 charges of doing an unauthorised act impairing the operation of a computer, two counts each of making an article intended to be used for computer misuse, obtaining an article to commit an offence and possessing articles in connection with fraud.

Maunder, from Abbey Park in Bangor, also faces single counts of supplying an article to be used in computer misuse and conspiring to commit an unauthorised act, with all of the offences alleged to have been committed between December 1, 2017 and September 13, 2018.

None of the facts surrounding the allegations were opened in court, but, revealing that Maunder had applied for a certificate of exceptionality from legal aid, defence counsel Conor Holmes told the court the Crown case is that Maunder “created a computer virus, sends it across the world and crashes hundreds of financial institutions”.

Looking at the particulars of the offences, it is alleged that when Maunder was aged 14-15, he made a “distributed denial-of-service attack”, which he sent to multiple websites and servers including: the Nationwide Building Society; Nuclear Fallout servers; Police.UK; Policie.CZ (police force in the Czech Republic); the server hosting the boxing match between rapper KSI and YouTube star Logan Paul.

Maunder is also accused of having a computer programme with the intention to use it to commit an offence and with having articles for fraud, including, on one count, email addresses and passwords relating to PayPal accounts in the UK, US, Germany and China, while in another similar charge the teenager is alleged to have had “credit card details contained in a file”.

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The case had been scheduled to be elevated to the Crown Court, but following an application by Mr Holmes, District Judge Mark Hamill adjourned the case to August 18.

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