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Helsinki prosecutor levels stiff charges against young hackers

A prosecutor for the Helsinki District Court has brought stiff charges against two 19 year olds suspected of being behind denial-of-services attacks.

Sormet tietokoneen näppäimillä.
Image: Antti Haanpää / Yle

A Helsinki District Court prosecutor has levelled a series of serious charges against two young men who are suspected of being behind significant denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

The first case is the result of a 2015 denial-of-service attack that targeted the OP Bank’s online banking services and caused a suspension in the bank’s money withdrawal services. The hack also prohibited users from using the online service to pay invoices.

The claimants in this first case are the Aktia, Danske, Nordea and OP banks and one private individual.

The cyberattack also caused disturbances in Nordea’s online banks and Aktia’s web pages. Danske Bank observed that its system was also under attack, but the bank says its customers were not affected.

The defendant in this first case, born in 1997, faces one count of aggravated illegal system interference, two counts of illegal system interference, one count of attempted interference, two counts of attempted extortion, one count of aggravated attempted extortion and one count each of endangering data processes, unauthorised use, and fraud and payment fraud.

The National Bureau of Investigation’s cyber crime prevention unit announced approximately a year ago that two men, one born in 1997 and the other in 1995, were suspects in the DoS attack. Preliminary investigation later cleared the older man from involvement.

Investigation discovered previous hacks

In an interesting turn of events, the unit’s investigation unearthed important information on earlier 2013 DoS attacks on the commercial broadcaster MTV’s video streaming service Katsomo and the Finnish Communications Authority that led to a new case.

The list of charges in the second case include three counts of illegal system interference from the 2013 hack, one count of attempted extortion and suspected illegal system interference. The claimants are the media house Alma Media, the IT consulting company Cybercom Finland, broadcaster MTV and the communications authority.

A second man of the same age has been charged for the 2013 attacks, along with the defendant in the first case. Both were therefore underage when the crimes they are suspected of carrying out were committed.

The suspects have both in part acknowledged their involvement in the attacks, but deny that they are guilty of any crimes.

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