- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2015

A 16-year-old British boy on Friday denied charges that he used a social media account to make bomb threats against two airliners earlier this year.

The teen, in a youth court in Devon to answer five counts pertaining to the threats and other attacks on websites worldwide, denied all five charges, which authorities said occurred between October 2014 and February 2015, the Guardian reported.

A spokesman for the Devon and Cornwall Police said last month that the boy was arrested following an investigation by the Operation Zephyr Regional Cyber Crime Unit, a division devoted to large-scale computer and network intrusions, website defacement and denial of service (DDoS) attacks in which sites are knocked offline by a sudden surge in traffic.

He was charged with three counts under Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act for DDoS attacks aimed at websites in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, the spokesman told the Mirror, and with two counts of violating Section 51 of the Criminal Law Act as a result of the bomb threats.


The bomb threats were allegedly made in February against representatives of American Airlines and Delta Airlines using a Twitter account, the West Morning News reported. It was not immediately clear if the threats were related to a widely reported incident a month earlier in which NORAD scrambled jets after Delta received a threat via social media.

A police source told the Telegraph that the boy isn’t accused of hacking, but of “bombarding websites to shut them down.”

The targets were not named, but the source said “a number of government institutions” and “big businesses” were involved.

Britain’s National Crime Agency said earlier this month that the average age of cybercriminal suspects is now only 17. The agency launched a campaign aimed at educating parents and children about the legal repercussions of such crimes, including specifically DDoS attacks.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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