Cambridge University website hacker pleads guilty to nine charges

Ashley Chhibber 16 April 2013

A computer hacker who last year attacked the website of the University of Cambridge pleaded guilty to nine charges on Friday (12 April), but is yet to be sentenced.

Lewys Martin, 21, who used the username ‘Sl1ink’ to conceal his identity online, attempted to disrupt the websites of the universities of both Cambridge and Oxford between January 29 and February 1 2012, by overwhelming the sites with requests for information.

This followed an earlier attempt on the University of Oxford website, in March 2011. Martin also attacked the Kent Police website, which was consequently shut down for a period.

Although both universities were able to prevent secure information from being compromised, estimates claim that “around two weeks’ worth of man hours were spent dealing with the cyber attacks”, Prosecutor Ken Goss told Maidstone Crown Court.

“Cyber crime is a rapidly expanding area of criminal activity and can take many forms. In this case, Martin was attacking not only large organisations, but individuals.

“Anyone who has been the victim of cyber crime knows how devastating it can be, but for organisations, the impact can be just as damaging, both to their business and their reputation.”

Martin, of Canterbury, Kent, pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorised modification of computer material, two counts of securing unauthorised access to computer material with intent, and a further two of making, supplying or obtaining articles for use. He entered pleas of not guilty to eight other charges, which the prosecution accepted.

DCI Tom Richards of Kent Police warned: “Anyone who thinks of carrying out these types of attacks will be tracked down and brought before the courts to face the consequence of their actions.”

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC granted conditional bail. Martin will return for sentencing after 13 May.

Ashley Chhibber