Suspended Sentence for Fraudster Who Stole and Sold Passwords for Streaming TV

A British fraudster was given a suspended prison sentence for stealing the identities of subscribers to the streaming TV services of BT Sports and Sky. Darren Walker, aged 32 from Cwmbran in Wales, was convicted of fraud at Birmingham Crown Court last week per the press release from the UK’s West Midlands Police. He received a 20 month prison sentence that is suspended for two years. Walker is said to have made ‘thousands of pounds’ from reselling compromised user credentials.

Though the police are trying to sound tough on this sort of crime, this sentence confirms that the British legal system is reluctant to imprison individuals who commit cyber crimes. On the contrary, the announcement reinforces my belief that the UK is backward when it comes to tackling crimes with a digital context. This news came from a regional cyber crime police unit. Does this mean Walker only stole the passwords of individuals who lived nearby? Did he only sell login details for these UK-wide internet streaming services to people resident in the West Midlands?

Cyber crime has no frontiers but national police forces still divide their resources as if there is a meaningful relationship between the location of a criminal and the location of his victims. This leads to wasteful duplication of effort when law enforcement should focus on national and international strategies for countering cyber crime.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.