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Jail time for UK hackers

Two men sentenced to jail for their roles in creating self-replicating TK worm that created a rogue network of compromised PCs.

Two UK men have received jail terms for conspiring to create a computer worm for an international hacking group.

Jordan Bradley, a 22-year-old electrician from Darlington, was sentenced to three months at Newcastle Crown Court after pleading guilty to "unauthorized modifications to the contents of computers with the intent to impair the operation."

Andrew Harvey, an unemployed 23-year-old from Durham, was sentenced to six months after pleading guilty to the same charges.

The two were identified by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) as members of the hacking group "THr34t Krew."

The self-replicating virus, known as the TK worm, created a rogue network of compromised PCs that Justice Bolton said was "unquantifiable." The hackers were able to control the network and use it to perform denial-of-service attacks on Web sites, police said.

Detective Superintendent Mick Deats, deputy head of the NHTCU, said in a statement: "Over the past year, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has seen a sustained increase in the professionalism of cybercriminals. Companies are taking the brunt of their attempts to steal money and data, but consumers are also being hit. I hope that these sentences deliver a tough message."

Bradley and Harvey were arrested in February 2003 at the same time as 21-year-old American Raymond Stegerwalt. Stegerwalt was sentenced to 21 months in jail and fined $12,000 by the U.S. Department of Defense, which said it suffered damages from the worm.

Dan Ilett of Silicon.com reported from London.