A man from Scotland was sentenced yesterday to serve 18 months in jail and ordered to pay £5,000 costs for sending millions of virus-loaded spam emails in order to steal private information.
Astonishingly, 33 year old Matthew Anderson lived too far to have access to broadband so he performed many of the offences from a computer at his mother’s house.
Anderson initially told investigating police he had not stolen information but analysis of the computer at his mother’s house revealed a mass of stolen information from key stroke loggers, photos, medical information and webcam images he had captured, spying on victims unaware their computer systems were compromised.
Netting Anderson was part of a wider investigation by the Metropolitan Police e-crime unit and Finnish authorities into the activities of Finnish malware group ‘m00p’ writing custom viruses to order. Anderson, operating under the alias of Warpigs, had ordered such a virus from the group.
Judge Geoffrey Rivlin said that the Anderson’s activities were on an “almost unimaginable scale" and that it was “difficult to conceive of a greater invasion of privacy.”
Sentencing, Judge Rivlin said: "Plainly only a custodial sentence is justified for an offence of this nature."
The Metropolitan Police e-crime unit came in for praise from the judge for an investigation conducted at a “highest standard.” In October Met commission Sir Paul Stephenson warned of the rise of e-crime and defended the role of specialist detectives in the e-crime unit.
High profile wins such as the conviction against Anderson will do much to highlight the necessity of effective e-crime policing at a time when the Met is being called upon to make substantial cuts as part of the austerity measures unveiled by the coalition government.