Aussie Anon sentenced for hacking websites

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Aussie Anon sentenced for hacking websites

Two years suspended jail for involvement in Guy Fawkes Night campaign.

A Perth man affiliated with hacker collective Anonymous was yesterday handed a suspended two-year jail term after pleading guilty to infiltrating and defacing a number of websites in 2012.

Adam Bennett was arrested in 2014 on suspicion of hacking a handful of Australian websites, with the assistance of a NSW teenager dubbed 'Juzzy', in November 2012 as part of Anonymous' global Guy Fawkes Night campaign.

'Juzzy', or Justin Michael Soyke, was sentenced to three years' jail in November last year.

The 2012 campaign involved both a physical marching protest in London and in Washington DC as well as an online defacement spree.

Bennett, a surf lifesaver and cancer charity worker who at the time used the online pseudonym "Lorax", entered guilty pleas late last year for hacking and helping another person to infiltrate five websites.

He was yesterday given a suspended sentence for all six charges brought against him.

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The Perth judge who handed down the sentence, Justice McCann, was highly critical of Bennett and labelled him a "creep" and an "immature pest".

"You carefully and painstakingly organised a mass hack intended to deface a large number of corporate websites over a period of five days, the purpose being to promulgate the absurd and anarchic principles of the organisation known as Anonymous," McCann said.

"The ostensible purpose of all of this, as I said, was to disseminate a manifesto which is not a political ideology unless the precepts which would amount to anarchy could be considered to be political in nature. 

"The so-called demands of Anonymous and therefore of yourself, as set out in the defacements, are the immature rants of the schoolyard and little else."

Nevertheless, Bennett's actions were still dangerous and served to embolden others to take similar courses of action, the judge said.

He asserted that it appeared Bennett had "never grown up" and had "too much time on your hands".

"The best that can be said of your offending is that it's - [for the charges relating to assisting someone else to hack] - is that it's the behaviour of a grossly immature pest," McCann said.

"[The charge related to Bennett's own hacking] ... could be described as inappropriate cyber vigilantism which is at best creepy and unsettling and certainly unwelcome, and at worse downright abusive and threatening.

"It evinces a grossly and inflated and unjustified sense of self-importance and self-worth which further supports my finding that you were an immature but serious pest when you committed these offences."

The judge opted for a suspended sentence given Bennett's remorse, acceptance of responsibility and cooperation with police, but said the hacker had "a long way" still to go.

McCann also said there was no evidence of seriously fraudulent motives, or significant loss and damage to victims, to justify a heavy sentence.

The maximum sentence for the five counts of helping someone to hack a website is 10 years.

Bennett was ordered to pay $1000 and will be on a good behaviour bond for the next two years for the first five charges.

For the charge of computer hacking - which carries a maximum two year jail term - Bennett was handed an "intensive" supervision order for two years and 200 hours of community service.

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