Darien’s villain of the fortnight
I grew up in the golden age of sci-fi films like Tron and Wargames, so when I hear the word ‘hacker’, I picture an audacious computer genius, breaking into top-secret systems to take down the bad guys from within.
Sad to say, the reality isn’t quite so romantic. Take the case of 21-year-old Alex Bessell from Liverpool, who’s recently been on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. His crime? Hacking into Google, Skype and other big online companies – not to right wrongs, but to steal personal data that could then be used for fraud.
He’s also admitted to raking in £50,000 selling malware and botnets – software designed to infect and damage other people’s computers. Bessell may have the technical brilliance of a 1980s movie hero, but he’s abused his powers to get rich at everyone else’s expense. He’s due to be sentenced in January, but this miscreant is already, without a doubt, my villain of the fortnight.