KAYEA, International hacker-for-hire jailed for cyber attacks on
Liberian telecommunications provider
KAYEA British cyber criminal has been sentenced to two years and eight
months for conducting attacks that disrupted a Liberian
telecommunications provider, resulting in losses estimated at tens of
millions of US dollars.
Daniel Kaye, from Egham, Surrey, pleaded guilty in December 2018 to
creating and using a botnet and possessing criminal property. He was
jailed today at Blackfriars Crown Court following an investigation led
by the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU).
Kaye, who was living in Peyia, Cyprus, began carrying out intermittent
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on the Liberian
telecommunications provider Lonestar MTN in October 2015 using rented
botnets and stressors.
The 30-year-old expert hacker was hired by a senior official at Cellcom,
a rival Liberian network provider, and paid a monthly retainer.
From September 2016, Kaye used his own Mirai botnet, made up of a
network of infected Dahua security cameras, to carry out consistent
attacks on Lonestar.
In November 2016, the traffic from Kaye’s botnet was so high in volume
that it disabled internet access across Liberia.
The attacks had a direct and significant impact on Lonestar’s ability to
provide services to its customers, resulting in revenue loss of tens of
millions in US dollars as customers left the network.
Remedial action taken by Lonestar to prevent the attacks incurred costs
of approximately 600,000 USD.
A European Arrest Warrant was issued for Kaye and when he returned to
the UK in February 2017, he was arrested by NCA officers.
His laptop, mobile and passport were seized, as well as $10,000 in $100
bills found in his suitcase.
He was subsequently extradited to Germany where he admitted attacks on
Deutsche Telekom that affected one million customers in November 2016,
and received a suspended sentence.
Kaye was returned to the UK on a second European Arrest Warrant in
NCA Specials contributed hours of their time to the investigation,
providing technical expertise to NCCU officers and assisting with
in-depth reviews of material.
The Shadowserver Foundation also assisted the investigation by providing
sinkholing traffic from the botnet.
Mike Hulett, Head of Operations at the NCCU, said: “Daniel Kaye was
operating as a highly skilled and capable hacker-for-hire.
activities inflicted substantial damage on numerous businesses in
countries around the world, demonstrating the borderless nature of cyber
“The victims in this instance suffered losses of tens of millions of
dollars and had to spend a large amount on mitigating action.
“Working in collaboration with international law enforcement partners
played a key role in bringing Daniel Kaye to justice.”
Russell Tyner, from the CPS, said: “Kaye was a talented and
sophisticated cyber criminal who created one of the world's largest
networks of compromised computers which he then made available to other
cyber criminals with no consideration as to the damage it would cause.
The CPS and the NCA together with the authorities in Germany and Cyprus
worked closely together in order to bring him to justice.”