According to the Globe and Mail, a Montreal-based 14-year-old computer hacker who was just 12 when he “crippled” several provincial government websites and shared information in exchange for video games, has received an 18-month probation sentence.
The youth’s name is being withheld. He pleaded guilty in October to attacks that happened in 2012 at the height of Quebec’s student protests. The judge decided to go relatively easy on the youngster, saying that they “were not of a criminal but of a young man who couldn’t have known the extent of the consequences.”
The boy was working for Anonymous, the near famous international network of hacktivists and anarchist online entities. Then, he was able to instigate “denial-of-service attacks, rendering web pages unavailable. In other cases, home pages were altered and data seized and traded,” according to the Globe.
The boy had said his main motivation was simple the acquisition of video games, while his lawyer said the attacks weren’t politically motivated and that his client wasn’t old enough to understand what his actions could cause.
Despite no previous criminal record, judge Michele Lefebvre set hard restrictions on the youth’s 18-month sentence, including limited access to Internet devices and 30 hours of community service, while he will be under supervision in the first six months.
The Globe referenced the last time a youth from Montreal was charged for hacking.
“In 2000, a teenager in western Montreal going by the alias MafiaBoy launched a series of denial-of-service attacks that crippled the websites of Yahoo Inc., EBay, CNN, Dell and Amazon.com. That caused millions of dollars in losses and kicked off an international manhunt featuring the RCMP and the FBI. The young man, Michael Calce, preached for Internet safety in a book he went on to co-author,” the newspaper wrote.
The CEO of Montreal-based startup SwiftIdentity, Robert Masse, was also a renowned hacker who was once apprehended as a teenager. SwiftIdentity is a security software that essentially prevents companies from suffering the fate of those that Masse hacked as a youngster. He frequently comments on online security matters for publications like the Toronto Star.