Former Jet2 IT employee, Scott Burns, has been jailed for ten months for a cyber-attack he carried out against the company last year. He was sentenced under section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990
The attack took the airline’s computer network offline for 12 hours and cost Jet2 £165,000. He also accessed the email account of Jet2 chief executive Steve Heapey.
Burns was motivated to carry out the attack following an incident at a 2017 “Benidorm roadshow”, the Leeds Crown Court heard.
Burns had been sent to Benidorm to provide IT cover for the event, according to the Register. Crown prosecutors said in a note read by the judge that Burns “twice tried to bring back a guest who was not checked into” the hotel he was staying at.
When denied entry, Burns reportedly “reacted violently” and damaged hotel property. He then lied to hotel staff saying he was the director of Jet2 and demanded his guest be allowed in. Burns was disciplined over the incident and banned from overseas travel with Jet2.
“That seems to be the event that caused Mr Burns to have a grudge,” crown prosecutor Rebecca Austin told the court.
Burns’ attack could have been much worse had it not been for a fast-thinking employee, Jeramy Eling, who stopped his actions, which could have caused a “complete disaster” for the company.
During the attack, Burns used his login credentials to access the Jet2 system. After infiltrating the network he deleted every account on the Jet2 domain, including all the domain administrator accounts.
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When Eling became aware of the intrusion he quickly created a new hidden admin account that allowed him to stop Burns’ attack and to rebuild the accounts from a back-up.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Burns: “What you intended to do was to cause as much damage to Jet2’s computer system as you could.
“But for the prompt measures of an employee of Jet2, this would have been disastrous and brought their computer system crashing down. This went far beyond being mischievous. This was a revenge attack for a perceived slight you had suffered.”
Burns made an unsuccessful plea to have his laptop wiped and returned to him. Instead it will be forfeited and destroyed.