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Two-year jail sentence for teen who hacked Xbox

Convict carried out more than 1.7m cyber attacks and enabled further crimes globally

A crucial step in protecting the games industry from cyber crimes has been made this week as a man has been jailed for two years after hacking Xbox Live and other gaming services.

Adam Mudd, 20, committed over 1.7m attacks on websites and networks such as Minecraft and TeamSpeak, as well as Xbox Live and other Microsoft businesses. These were carried out after he created the Titanium Stresser program when he was 16 - a tool he then sold to other cybercriminals, The Guardian reports.

He was also accountable for 594 distributed denial of service attacks against 181 IP addresses between December 2013 and March 2015.

Mudd pleaded guilty, with the judge noting that his crimes had caused choas "from Greenland to New Zealand, from Russia to Chile". The judge added this sentence needed to have a "real element of deterent".

"I have a duty to the public who are worried about this, threatened by this, damaged by this all the time," he said. "It's terrifying."

Mudd, who previously had undiagnosed Asperger syndrome, also admitted to breaching the security of his college, the West Herts College. This crashed the institute's network and cost £2,000 to investigate, even affecting 70 other schools and colleges as well as local councils. Mudd claimed this was revenge after he was reportedly mugged at college but no action was taken.

His crimes against the games industry are said to be about improving his status in the online community, although he also benefitted financially. Sales of Titanium Stresser earned him the equivalent of £386,000 in US dollars and bitcoins.

The program was revealed to have 112,000 registered users, who used it to attack 666,000 IP addresses - 53,000 of which were in the UK. One notable target was Cambridge-based studio Jagex and its popular MMO RuneScape. 25,000 DDoS attacks against the company prompted Jagex to spend £6m on defending itself, resulting in a revenue lss of £184,000.

According to The Guardian, Mudd showed no emotion as he was taken away to a young offender institution.

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was