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East Ham man fined £20,000 for hacking students emails

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 November 2010

Southwark Crown Court

Southwark Crown Court

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A RUTHLESS hacker who posed as a student to get into the emails of hundreds of unsuspecting "fellow students" has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Professional online gambler Daniel Woo 23, a Bulgarian national living in East Ham, was also ordered to pay over £20,000 in costs and compensation.

He was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court last Wednesday (24/11) for offences under the Misuse of Computers Act.

He is also banned from entering any university, college or place of higher education without the consent of police for 12 months.

Woo, of Sibley Grove, was arrested in November 2006 at the London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in Holborn after being caught while installing password-capturing software. He was spotted by IT staff who were investigating recent anomalies in their computer network.

Detectives from a specialist e-Crime Unit established that Woo had falsely claimed to be a student in order to gain access to a computer room on the campus.

Once in, he used various hacking techniques to break a number of students’ passwordsto gain access to their accounts. He then placed computer software known as “Cain and Able” on a number of machines, which in turn enabled him to collect further student passwords and to covertly gather electronic traffic passing through the university’s computer network.

Scotland Yard explained that in order to crack passwords, place the necessary software on the system and upload the unlawfully obtained data, Woo visited the student computer room on at least ten occasions in October and November 2006.

In this way he was able to gain access to hundreds of private emails containing personal identification and financial information. It was later established that fraud had taken place on a number of the compromised payment accounts.

Under interview Woo claimed to have no recollection of having been in the computer room.

Following extensive enquiries - which included the detailed forensic examination of Woo’s computers, CDs, discs, and mobile phones, as well as CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts - officers were able to link Woo to further similar crimes at the University of Coventry and established that he had stolen an ID card from a student who attended the University of Northampton.

Woo was charged in May 2009 and subsequently pleaded guilty to all offences last August.

Woo,had admitted hacking into the SOAS and Coventry University systems and theft of the student card.

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