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TalkTalk hacker hit Withybush Hospital and others, costing tax payer £400,000



A ‘CYNICAL and ruthless’ hacker, motivated by spite and greed, targeted the computer systems at Withybush Hospital, The Herald can confirm.

Daniel Kelley, now aged 21, hacked into networks at Withybush and Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli. When he did so, he prevented radiographers from viewing vital diagnostic images used to plan treatment for patients. The hacker also disrupted communications between different Health Board sites.

The Court heard that Kelley’s actions caused ‘a serious clinical risk of a catastrophic outcome’.

The hack cost the Welsh Government, which runs big public networks, £400,000 to repair its systems, improve its security systems, and prevent further hacks.

Kelley’s efforts in disrupting vital public services began when he implemented a Distributed Denial of Service attacks at Coleg Sir Gar, where he was a student.

Prosecutors alleged that Kelley’s motivation on that occasion was spite at being denied a place on a Level 3 computing course due to poor performance in his GCSEs.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attack in which multiple compromised computer systems attack a target, such as a server, website or another network resource, and cause a denial of service for users of the targeted resource.

In Kelley’s case, he deliberately targeted the College’s computer infrastructure, causing disruption to systems accessed by students and teachers, including examinations.

Having accessed the College network, Kelley was able to exploit its connection to wider Welsh public service computer infrastructure and caused targeted disruption to other bodies which shared the network’s resources.

There is no sign that Kelley committed these acts for anything other than his amusement and the feeling of power it gave him.

While Kelley’s activities had widespread adverse consequences, his next step presented a major escalation.

He hijacked the computer systems of companies in Australia and Canada. The targets included Zippo Lighters, Rogers Communications, RC Hobbies, ISP JISC, TAFE Queensland, and a court transcription service called For the Record in Australia.

He attempted to blackmail company executives by targeting their loved ones and making threats to collapse companies by wrecking their computer systems.

Kelley was arrested in July 2015 but his most audacious blackmail attempt was yet to come.

In October that year, together with a group of other hackers, Kelley took part in “significant and sustained cyber-attack” on TalkTalk.

The group broke into broadband provider TalkTalk’s customer database and stole a copy of its contents.

The stolen records included customer names and addresses, dates of birth, payment card details, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Around 157,000 customers in the UK were caught up in the hack, which was said to have cost TalkTalk £77m to clean up and cost it immeasurably more in lost customer confidence and income.

Kelley then attempted to extort £80,000 in exchange for not leaking the swiped customer database onto the web.

Peter Ratliff, prosecuting, described Kelley as a “prolific, skilled and cynical cyber-criminal” who was willing to “bully, intimidate, and then ruin his chosen victims from a perceived position of anonymity and safety – behind the screen of a computer.

“Where confidential and sensitive information had been stolen in the hack – typically the personal and credit card details of the company’s clients – the defendant would threaten the company with the public release of the material, knowing and exploiting the fact that the release would risk the ruin of the company concerned.

“It is clear from the content of the emails that the defendant sent that he derived enjoyment and excitement from the power he wielded over those he sought to intimidate.”

Sentencing Kelley, Judge Mark Dennis said Kelley hacked computers “for his own personal gratification” regardless of the damage caused.

His attempts at blackmail revealed a “cruel and calculating side to his character”, Judge Dennis said.

Kelley was sentenced to youth detention due to his age at the time of his arrest.

A spokesperson for Hywel Dda University Health Board said “the NHS is increasingly reliant on the use of digital systems to support patient care we hope that this sentence will act as a deterrent to others from attempting to hack public sector organisations in Wales in the future.

“At the time, this hack caused a number issue in Hywel Dda including:-

  • Radiologists were unable to effectively report on diagnostic images because the reporting / dictation system we use were unresponsive during the Denial of Service attacks at Prince Philip Hospital. This seriously interrupted clinical workflow and wasted a great deal of Radiologist time. This could have adversely affected the care of patents including those critically ill/injured as without prompt, reliable access to images there is a serious clinical risk.
  • Our Patient Administration System at Prince Philip Hospital had response time issues causing difficulties on the Wards, A&E and Maternity departments as well as administrative areas like Medical Records.
  • Experienced delays with ICT services at other Health sites in the Llanelli area including Ammanford and Cross Hands Health Centres.

“Following this incident Welsh Government bolstered the Public Sector network (which all public bodies in Wales use) with hardware and software to detect and stop denial of service attacks in the future and mitigate the risks as far as possible.”


Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’



POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at

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Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed



THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leaders coronavirus update



PEMBROKESHIRE County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Tuesday, 2nd June, as follows:

‘I want to thank everyone for the continued support to myself, Elected Members and officers of the Authority.

‘We have all experienced many challenges over the years but this continued struggle is very testing for all. We continue collectively to work together to ensure we, in Pembrokeshire, remain safe and avoid catching Covid-19

‘It is clear that we still have to remain “local”. There is no remit for travelling outside our local community. You will have read and heard clear guidance on only travelling five miles from home.

‘As always and where you can, please exercise from your home. The more we can do to reduce the spread of the virus, the better we will all fare in the long term.

‘I want to highlight that today marks the 50 th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge. This was indeed a tragedy as lives were lost and it is a sad chapter in Pembrokeshire’s history.

‘As in any incident, people can, and do, rebuild and also learn lessons. After Covid-19 the new “normality” will look different from what we were used to. But we will all move forward and regain Confidence.

‘I’m sure, like you, I question how I should be tackling this issue. Should I be doing more? The answer is simple and direct – we need to ensure social distancing is maintained; wash our hands regularly and listen to the advice given by experts.

‘Remember: ‘Stay Strong and Stay Local.’

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