Darien’s vil­lain of the fort­night

Computer Active (UK) - - News - Alex Bes­sell

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.

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