Hong Kong stock exchange hacker sentenced to jail

The 28-year-old had planned to use the photographs and video of the hack last year to promote the DoS prevention services of his firm, Pacswitch Globe Telecom.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The hacker who broke into the Hong Kong stock exchange news Web site last year has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

A South China Morning Post (SCMP) report Saturday said Tse Man-lai, 28, was convicted in the district court on two counts of obtaining access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent. On Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 last year, Tse launched denial-of-service attacks (DoS) on HKExnews, a Web site operated by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) which publishes corporate filings, the report said.

Hong Kong police tracked the source of the hack to a computer used only by Tse, who was reportedly gathering material to prove the HKExnews site was still vulnerable after suffering two DoS attacks which originated from outside Hong Kong.

In those attacks, the stock exchange suspended trading of seven companies when hackers broke into the system on Aug. 10. A SCMP October report said there was no evidence which indicated Tse was involved in that particular incident.

SCMP said Judge Kim Longley accepted Tse's defence that he only accessed the site long enough to record photographs and video footage of his attacks, with the first session lasting 390 seconds and the second 70 seconds.

He had planned to use the photographs and video to promote his firm, Pacswitch Globe Telecom, and its DoS prevention method.

The report added Samson Tam, former lawmaker for Hong Kong's ICT sector, wrote a letter of mitigation saying Tse's work had "advanced" IT in the city.

Longley previously described Tse's attacks as "highly reckless", said SCMP. The judge noted there was no precendent for such a case, adding that he took into consideration Tse was a young married man who had worked hard academically and professionally.

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