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

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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.”

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Sentencing delay for money theft case

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A CROWN COURT has delayed the sentencing of a Narberth man who has admitted stealing from a local community organisation.

Lee Squelch, 37, of Caerau Farm, Llandewi Velfrey, had denied the charges but changed his plea to guilty on March 5.

However, due to over running cases at the Crown Court, the sentencing date has been put back until Wednesday, April 21 – the case was due to be concluded on April 15.

Squelch has admitted that between April 2014 and March 2018 he stole money from The Pembrokeshire Byways and Bridleways Association.

It is understood that Squelch was in a position of responsibility within the said organisation when the alleged offences took place.

Pembrokeshire Byways and Bridleways is a community focused organisation which aims to improve the bridleways around Pembrokeshire, to keep horse riders safely off the roads. It is affiliated to the British Horse Society.

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The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic

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ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath the sea just two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg.

Stories from that night are famous, from the lookouts misplacing their binoculars to the ship’s band playing even as the sea washed over their feet, the sinking of the Titanic holds a special place in the public consciousness and continues to grab our attention some 109 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship sank.

Over 1500 people lost their lives in the biggest maritime naval disaster at that point.

Among the dead were American and British millionaires, White Star Line employees and countless anonymous immigrants from across Europe who were all seeking a better life in America.

908 crew were on board the Titanic when it left Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, one of the crew was a man called Charles Essex Edwards, 38, who sometimes gave himself the first name of ‘Clement’.

Charles was born in 1862 to John and Harriet Edwards of St. Martin’s Place, Haverfordwest.

He worked as a carpenter as a 19-year-old man and would end up moving out of Pembrokeshire and going to sea.  By the time he married a lady called Lavinia Ann Poulter, from Llanstadwell, in May 1892 he was living in Newport.

Lavinia, a Pembrokeshire woman herself, was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Poulter who lived on Lawrenny Terrace in Neyland.

By 1895, Lavinia had returned to Pembrokeshire following the death of her mother. Charles and Lavinia’s marriage suffered but Charles would continue visiting Lavinia and stayed at his father-in-law’s house when he was on shore leave.

Although still married in the eyes of the law, Charles and Lavinia were basically separated by 1901.

Charles signed on to work on the brand new RMS Titanic after it had completed its sea trials in Belfast Lough, he gave his address as 7 Brunswick Square, Southampton. He worked on the Titanic as an assistant pantry-man steward who earned a monthly wage of £3 15s on his previous ship the SS Zeeland.

SS Zeeland: The ship Charles worked on before the Titanic

When RMS Titanic left Southampton a massive crowd had gathered to see the newest addition to the White Star Line fleet depart. Charles Edwards was there. He was there when the ship picked up more passengers at Cherbourg and Cobh.

He would’ve been working during the day, his job entailed keeping the ship’s pantries stocked with food and wine, a vital job on a ship with such a high-class passenger list as the Titanic.

He was, more than likely, sleeping when Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path at 11:40pm on Sunday, April 14. He would’ve been woken by the noise of metal on ice and the ship shuddering as it was torn open on the starboard side.

As the ‘unsinkable’ ship took on water Charles, as a White Star Line employee, would’ve been given the unenviable task of waking up passengers, informing them of what happened and getting them to put on their lifejackets.

Once the scale of the situation on the Titanic became apparent, the command structure effectively disintegrated.

Captain Edward Smith would’ve cut a forlorn figure as he wandered around near the wheelhouse and his last words to his crew, according to reports at the time were:

“Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you.

“You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

This would’ve been around 2:10am, at that point Charles would’ve faced a literal up-hill battle with male members of the crew only having a 24% chance of survival and many people gathering ‘like bees’ on the stern of the stricken liner which, experts say, raised to a 12 degree angle.

The Pantryman-stewards from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic

Many male crew members elected to stay at their posts as, according to Victorian culture it was better for men to die than to live and be perceived a coward, so the lights of the ship remained on until about 2:18am, just two minutes before Titanic broke apart and began its journey to its final resting place some 12,000ft below on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

But now you know there was a man named Charles Edwards who was born in Haverfordwest and who died when the Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. His body, if it was recovered, was never identified and we don’t even have a picture of him.

When news of the disaster broke, The Pembroke County Guardian described the tragedy as ‘one of the most appalling calamities in the long history of shipwreck’.

Four men from Maenclochog, it was later revealed, had a lucky escape as their plans to emigrate that April on the Titanic were thwarted by one of their number being unable to travel, so the group decided to wait for their friend. That decision saved their lives.

Pembrokeshire responded to the sinking by raising money for the Titanic Relief Fund, Pembroke Dock raised £12 2s 0d through a collection at the Royal Dockyard and, in Haverfordwest, Sidney White, who would later go on to own The Palace Cinema, hosted benefit performances to packed houses which raised £5 15s.

Lavinia, after a legal battle with Charles’ brother William, was given £192 in compensation for Charles’ death and went on to look after her father at Railway Terrace, Neyland until he passed away.

Lavinia went on to move to Middlesex where she lived until 1934. She left her estate to her chauffeur.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

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A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Derek Lister: Accused of making child abuse images
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