Austrian police task force arrests "country's youngest hacker"
Austrian federal police have arrested a 15-year-old student who allegedly cracked the servers of 259 companies during a three-month hacking spree. The student is supposed to have indiscriminately hacked the servers of companies in Austria and internationally with a selection of hacker tools. As part of the attacks, he defaced web sites and boasted about his actions on Twitter, and also posted links to data dumps of stolen confidential information and user data. He confessed to the actions as soon as he was arrested by the police.
The Austrian Ministry of the Interior (BMI) called the 15-year-old high school student "the country's youngest hacker" and revealed that a wide variety of sites were targeted, from sports equipment manufacturers to search engines, porn sites and public institutions. The young hacker, who operated under the pseudonym ACK!3STX, had apparently signed up on a hacker forum and, after discovering that the site awarded points for successful hacks, had started rising through the ranks until he was among the top 50 hackers on the 2,000 members strong site. Investigations of his activities were taken over by the Austrian federal police's new Cyber Crime Competence Centre (C4) after the agency had received multiple complaints from companies in the first few months of the year.
The hacker had been using anonymising software to mask his tracks but eventually slipped up, which enabled C4 to track his IP address and locate the physical location of his residence in the federal state of Lower Austria. Investigations into the attacks are ongoing, with Europol also being involved due to the international nature of the attacks. Officials are as yet unable to detail the exact amount of damage that was caused.