Crawley teen hacker who had child porn gets suspended sentence

Court
Court

A man has been sentenced for hacking fraud, making indecent child images and possession of extreme pornography.

A police spokesman said Aaron Coster, 18, unemployed, of Farnham Close, Broadfield, was given a two-year jail term suspended for two years when he appeared at Hove Crown Court on Friday (January 29).

He pleaded guilty to three counts of unauthorised computer access, one of fraud by false representation, three of making an indecent image of a child and one of possession of an extreme pornographic image at a hearing in November 2015.

He was served with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

The order would ‘severely restrict’ his access to computers for ten years.

The spokesman added: “The investigation began in 2013 when Sussex Police received intelligence that Coster had been downloading indecent images of children. His address was searched and computers were seized which were later found to contain 26 images of the most serious nature.

“There was no evidence of any contact offending against children by Coster, whether in person or on-line, and none of the images are believed to be of local children.

“However, separate enquiries also revealed that he acquired and used a remote access computer tool which is designed to control another computer.

“Coster had hacked into the computers of more than 100 people in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, and the United States, allowing him to find their passwords, and account details, when he found that the users were on-line and had often left their passwords and addresses accessible.

“He used this information to order for himself computer equipment and games, some of which were still present when police searched his address.

“These activities came to light when a UK resident spotted that his computer identity was being used to place orders, and reported him to the police.”

Detective Constable David Hull of the Surrey and Sussex Cyber Crime Unit said: “This investigation initially focused on Coster’s acquisition of indecent images of children, but we then followed up information that led us to his hacking activities. All the offending appears to have been carried out for his own personal gratification rather than for financial gain.

“Although still living at home, Coster had become very skilled and adept in the use of computer technology. We hope that the sentencing will encourage him to put his skills to legitimate use to the benefit of law-abiding society.”

He issued internet safety advice: make sure you have an up to date security programme and anti-virus software installed on your computer; install updates for your operating system, web browser and other software as soon as it is available. But beware of emails about security updates; these are hoaxes; make regular backups of important files; be careful about clicking on links and attachments in emails; don’t click on links from an unknown sender. Remember that spammers could also gain access to a friend’s account, so if you get an uncharacteristic email containing a link from a friend, do not click on it but find another way of contacting them to check that the message is genuine; remember that free screensavers and games can be used to infect computers with viruses. Never download them; never click on a link in an email from your bank. If you want to use online banking, enter the website address in the address bar yourself, so that you know you are going to the right website and not a fake site designed to replicate the genuine article; leave a website if you feel suspicious - if the site doesn’t look or ‘feel’ right, if there is text that doesn’t appear to have any purpose or doesn’t tie in with the rest of the site, or if you feel uneasy for any reason; don’t use open wi-fi hotspots to send private information such as bank details; when buying things online or otherwise entering sensitive data, look for a padlock in the bottom right corner of the screen and a web address beginning with https. This indicates that you are on a site that has its own built-in security.

For more advice and to report online crime visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.

For more about online safety you can also visit www.thinkyouknow.co.uk.

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