A student who made Â£ 20,000 hacking a Welsh university security system and selling exam papers and lessons has been sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Hayder Ali Jasim, 29, from Doncaster, also known as the Aliayyash family, followed the login details of 35 professors at the University of South Wales.
He was helped by his roommate Noureldien Eltarki, 30, who was able to find students willing to pay thousands of pounds for them.
The couple were discovered in May 2019 when a math teacher noticed some students included typing errors in their exams that the teacher made on his answer sheet.
The university then launched an investigation where it found an IP address linked to a property near the Treforest campus.
There, police arrested Jasim at the Brook Street address and seized Â£ 17,000 in cash as well as computer equipment containing significant amounts of banned information belonging to the university.
Jasim and Ektarki, who studied at the university’s engineering and computer science faculty, both lived at the address.
Police discovered five systems had been compromised by the pair, including data consisting of exam papers, courses, grades and reports.
He revealed that 216 files had been downloaded between November 2019 and May 2019 and that the network had been connected more than 700 times.
During his interview with the police, Eltarki confessed to selling an exam script for up to Â£ 6,500 and other amounts including Â£ 3,000, Â£ 1,600 and Â£ 300, much of the money going to Jasim, who was running the operation. Jasim pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining items through unauthorized access to computers and two counts of committing an act that undermined the reliability of computer data.Eltarki of Roath in Cardiff, pleaded guilty to money laundering and transfer of criminal property.
In mitigation, Jasim’s lawyer Stephen Thomas said his Iraq-born client had “acted stupidly” but accepted responsibility for his offense. He added: “He is really ashamed of himself for his behavior and he realizes that his behavior was extremely selfish and reprehensible.”The lawyer added that Jasim was now living in the UK as an asylum seeker and would struggle to get a job due to his beliefs.Susan Ferrier, representative of Libya-born Eltarki, said her client made a “stupid decision” after becoming involved in the debt repayment operation, but maintained that the accused did not had no involvement in obtaining the materials.Upon sentencing, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “[Jasim], you are a young man with obvious talent and skills, especially in IT, but you have abused these skills.âThe court asks itself the following questions: Were your offenses planned and coherent? They certainly were and lasted for some time. Were they sophisticated?“Do these series of offenses damage the system and the reputation of the institution against which you have committed an offense?” Of course yes. Does this undermine public confidence in this institution? Yes. . What was your motive? Financial greed; and the amount of money you got was not insignificant, in the order of Â£ 20,000. “
Jasim was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Eltarki to nine months in prison suspended for 24 months. He was also ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and a six-day rehabilitation activity requirement.