Tuesday 12 November 2019

Schoolboy in hacking probe back at home


Cate McCurry

A schollboy at the centre of the investigation into the huge TalkTalk cyber attack was back at home with his mother yesterday, after being questioned by detectives overnight.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested on Monday after police swooped on his home in the Ballykeel 2 estate in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

A friend of the boy's mother explained how the incident left the family "terrified" when six van loads of police officers "burst down their front door".

The teenager was arrested and questioned by leading cyber crime investigators and released on bail yesterday morning.


Last week, some experts suggested the attack was the work of highly skilled Islamist jihadists in Russia, following anonymous internet postings claiming responsibility.

However, the teen's arrest has raised questions that it was more of an amateur attack on the giant telecommunications company.

There was a fleeting glimpse of the teenager early in the morning, when he politely declined to speak to a local journalist.

The curtains were pulled in every room in the two-storey terraced house and they remained closed for the rest of the day.

A post on the teen's Facebook page last year said how he wanted to be a professional video gamer.

He said: "I'm a 14-year-old gamer who one day wants to be a professional 'Call of Duty' player."

Ballykeel 2, which is a working class loyalist area, sits just on the outskirts of Ballymena.

His mother's friend, who did not want to be named, said that the whole community was in a state of shock.

"The boy is quiet and we get on really well with them and they are very nice people," she added.

The investigation is being led by the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit along with officers from the PSNI Cyber Crime Centre and National Crime Agency.

News that the TalkTalk website had been hit by a "significant and sustained cyber attack" broke last week.

The phone and broadband provider, which has over four million UK customers, said banking details and personal information could have been accessed.

But at the weekend, TalkTalk's chief executive, Dido Harding, said the attack was "smaller" than originally thought.

Irish Independent

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