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'It was surprisingly easy to bring down FBI and Home Office websites,' warns apologetic teenage hacker

By Mirror | November 15th 2015
Charlton Floate hacked the Home Office and the FBI (Photo Courtesy)

Charlton Floate is a convicted computer hacker who served eight months for his crimes and was ordered to carry out 250 hours community service.

But it wasn't the likes of TalkTalk or Ashley Madison he attacked - it was the UK and US governments.

Floate managed to bring down the websites for the FBI and the Home Office from his bedroom in the West Midlands back in 2013.

Speaking to BBC 5 Live Daily , the reformed hacker expressed deep regret at his actions.

"I honestly regret doing that type of thing now. I got caught up in a world that is rather dark, but it gives you a home when you're not quite happy with real life," he told the radio station.

And yet, according to Floate, hacking these government sites wasn't much of a challenge.

"It was surprisngly easy to be honest. It took me about 40 or 45 minutes," he said.

"The fact that the Home Office's website was connected to its internal network was alarming in itself."

"If you have passport files or something on the computers at the Home Office, they're completely exploitable to someone who has an internet connection because they're connected."

Computer crime has become the biggest single type of offence in the UK.

In the last twelve months to June this year, two and a half million cybercrimes were committed.

Criminals can now easily find people selling tools and services that allow them to carry out illegal activities such as data theft and password cracking without the need for specialist skills.

Instead, they can simply buy access to technical skills from an emerging service-based cybercrime market.

"If agencies fail to mobilise to meet the threats then organised cybercrime will gain the upper hand," said Professor Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey.

"However, if agencies work together, across borders, then we can use modern technologies to catch criminals, rather giving them a platform for ever more innovative forms of crime."

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