Mumsnet cyber-hacker ordered to do 200 hours' unpaid work

image copyrightMumsnet
image captionUsers were asked to double-check they were not entering their passwords into a fake log-in page

A teenager who launched a cyber-attack against parenting site Mumsnet - forcing it to reset millions of passwords - has been sentenced.

David Buchanan, 18, was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid community work when he appeared at Guildford Magistrates' Court.

He had admitted two counts of hacking and one of impairing the operation of or hindering access to a computer.

The parenting site had to reset the passwords of 7.7 million members.


Buchanan, of Vann Road, Fernhurst, West Sussex, took action that enabled the Mumsnet homepage to be redirected to a now suspended Twitter profile during his cyber-attack last August.

He also admitted hacking into his school's internal website.

Mumsnet was later subjected to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, where an attempt is made to force a site offline by swamping it with internet traffic.

Its users were made to reset their passwords as a "precautionary measure" following the attacks.

The network's founder, Justine Roberts, told the BBC Buchanan "caused a lot of angst. It was pretty scary, pretty worrying".

She said the teenager enabled members' email addresses and passwords to be accessed online by other hackers.

Ms Roberts said she hoped he would now "use his talent in a productive, not destructive way".

Correction 3 August 2016: This story has been amended to make clear that Buchanan did not carry out all the actions taken against the Mumsnet website, although it was his hacking that made them possible.

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