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BBC Wales's Nick Palit reports
"He downloaded thousands of files from his bedroom"
 real 56k

Friday, 20 April, 2001, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Teenage hacker case adjourned
gray
Raphael Gray admitted breaking into web sites
The sentence hearing of a teenage hacker charged with an alleged $3m internet fraud has been adjourned.

The judge ordered the hearing to be put back for medical reports on 19-year-old Raphael Gray, from west Wales.

He was released on bail after the court heard he suffered head injuries in a schoolyard fall when he was 14, causing mood swings.

Gray has admitted gaining unlawful access to company websites and to dishonestly obtaining services from the internet.

Using a computer which he bought from Dixons, Gray hacked into the customer records of corporate sites to prove they were insecure.

FBI agents and British police eventually located the hacker working from the bedroom of his home in the Welsh hamlet of Clynderwen, in Pembrokeshire.

Job offer

Gray's activities were reported to include having Viagra delivered to Microsoft boss Bill Gates at the company's US headquarters, by hacking into websites to access the tycoon's credit card details.

It is believed that, since entering his guilty pleas, the computer studies student has been offered a job as a security consultant by a software company.


Gray saw himself and somewhat romantically styled himself as a saint of e-commerce

Prosecutor Leighton Davies
Gray has admitted two counts of obtaining services by deception after illegally accessing credit card details.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of setting up two internet sites by unlawfully using credit cards which did not belong to him.

Gray also admitted six counts of knowingly accessing sites containing credit card details, but without using the information for gain.

The teenager had earlier denied 10 charges under the Computer Misuse Act (Section 2) of downloading unauthorised information.

Trial unnecessary

But it was decided that a full-scale trial, which was due to begin on 2 April and would have included testimony from FBI investigators and American witnesses, was not required.

Prosecutor Leighton Davies said that because Gray had admitted a series of lesser charges, those witnesses would not be needed.

Mr Davies added: "Gray saw himself and somewhat romantically styled himself as a saint of e-commerce.

"But the criminal crusade perpetuated by the defendant was wholly unnecessary and extreme."

He described Gray as taking "pleasure and pride in flouting the law".

Colin Nicholls QC, defending, told the court: "The fall left him depressed and rebellious. He was obsessed by his crusade - he is a highly strung man going through an abnormal phase in his life."

Gray had claimed that he had been authorised in accessing the sites because there had been no warning that access was prohibited.

But Mr Davies compared this to a burglar who claimed he was not guilty because the householder had left their window open.

Gray, who has already admitted two offences of obtaining by deception computer equipment and other items worth 1,399, committed the offences between February and 1 March last year.

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See also:

27 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
More hacking on goverment websites
11 Feb 00 | UK
A - Z: Hack attack
06 Sep 99 | e-cyclopedia
Cracking: Hackers turn nasty
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