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SeaWorld hacker and bomb hoaxer escapes prison sentence

Judge says jail is of no benefit to teen who hacked SeaWorld and sent bomb threats to the White House.

Ah, to be young and more-or-less forgiven.

Maybe you recall the hacking attacks against Florida’s SeaWorld amusement park in late 2014 and early 2015, shortly after SeaWorld was accused of mistreating the Orca whales it held in captivity for its patrons’ entertainment. Those hacks turned out to be the handiwork of a then-14-year-old British teenager from Plymouth in Devon and were part of a three-month internet crime spree in which he attacked organizations far, wide, and high up in the sky.

We can’t disclose his real name, he’s too young.

We can tell you the young hacker was caught, hauled up on charges, and has just been sentenced.

According to the prosecutor, as quoted in The Sun, the teenager’s attacks on SeaWorld “had a significant and detrimental financial effect on SeaWorld as an organisation, which included increased labour costs to respond to the attacks, strengthening of infrastructure to protect against future attacks, and sales revenue.” SeaWorld quantified the hit at roughly £359,000 ($475,000), plus another £99,000 ($130,000) in new security precautions it probably should have already been taking anyway.

As part of this animal rights crusade, reports The Telegraph, “he also crashed computers in the Japanese town of Taiji, where an annual dolphin hunt takes place.”

Some of you may be thinking, “Good for him, standing up for the dolphins that way.” But his attacks didn’t stop there. According to The Telegraph, he also “caused chaos targeting Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Agriculture in Thailand and China’s Security Ministry,” and crashed his local Devon and Cornwall police agency’s computers for almost an hour.

What got him arrested? Apparently none of that. It was the youth’s eloquent Twitter bomb threats to American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and the White House:

There’s a nice tick-tick in one of those lovely Boeing planes. Hurry gentlemen, the clock is ticking. High quality

No dolphins on those flights, we bet.

According to multiple reports, the teenager showed up in Plymouth Youth Court deeply apologetic; his legal representative told District Judge Diane Baker that he’d become involved with a bad crowd. Now, however, that would change.

Baker made it clear that the boy had done enough to qualify for some form of detention, and understood full well that his behavior was illegal – he’d apparently even done an internet search on the crimes he was committing. According to the Sun, the judge told him, “I think you got carried away by the fact that you thought you were cool, you thought you were clever.”

But, ultimately, no jail. The judge didn’t think there would be any benefit of sending the teenager to a youth detention centre, saying, “It would destroy you.”

So, for the next two years, the boy will be subject to a youth rehabilitation order. He’ll be supervised, required to attend courses in thinking skills and victim awareness, and do 120 hours of reparation work. His mother will have to pay £620 ($820) in court costs. And, last but not least, Baker ordered his computer to be destroyed.

Meanwhile, we’ll all hope, and watch, to see that all these unpleasantries remain in the past where they belong.


He should have at least gotten a whooping. However, “His mother will have to pay” implies he has no father. “If” his father abandoned him (not a casualty himself) he should be found and sent to jail in place of his son, for not teaching him to respect others.


If this kid doesn’t deserve jail at all then the guy who hacked the Houston Astros and got 46 months in prison doesn’t deserve that. The legal system in the US has become a joke. No charges at all for Hillary Clinton when she broke big laws but a little hacking and prison?


Based this article, it sounds like the kid is based out of the UK. The US would have to extradite him to prosecute him with our stricter cyber criminal laws. It sounds like it’s not worth it. Better the kid learn how to focus his skills for good, and grow into an adult who can make positive contributions to society (perhaps as an IT security professional).


Sorry, but I can’t really accept that answer. “Learn how to focus his skills for good”? Besides that stupid bomb threatening, I believe he exactly did that. He used his skills of a 14yo which is already incredible to show corrupt and only money-focused adults that they still have the responsability to care. Additionally, he showed SeaWorld where their security environment is lacking, which is a free Proof of Concept for their IT-environment for one (With the size of Seaworld alone, this would have cost them roughly more than 20k).

In my opinion this “kid” is doing just fine and I love to see how especially today there are still young people that like to think on their own and try to change things. Other than all those braindead people believing media, buying all the new products and so on..


Gotta disagree with you. When activists turn violent and threatening, they are no longer activists. They are terrorists.


desp00000te, I think we generally agree that the 14-year old’s sentence was reasonable? Are you unable to accept my answer because the part of my response that you quoted could be interpreted to mean that his actions (save for the bomb threat) weren’t good? \_(ツ)_/¯


brianc6234, I agree with you on the apparent lopsided judicial system (though they’re in separate countries and this young lad should be grateful he’s not somewhere that still advocates losing a limb for theft). The two largest differences here are
1) age of knowing better: we all did pretty stupid things when we were fourteen, and I’ll wager most of us should’ve gotten in more trouble. The part of growing up he just crashed into is keeping the id in check, learning empathy, and treating others like peers.
2) greed vs (mostly) noble intention: the (Astros) industrial espionage was pure personal gain at the expense of others, while at the beginning a solid moral cause (animal empathy) launched this kid’s misbehavior, albeit shortly before getting overzealous and losing his ideals…but again, see (1).

Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson and by consequence we never learn his name. If this were my kid he’d work all summer to pay me back double the court fines, and when he graduates college he’d learn I stashed it into savings for him.


Bomb threat, enough said, he should be jailed without any connection to technology. That is the only technology he comes in contact with is a hard-bound book, preferably upside the head. Again, because he is young a slap on the wrist, he sounds to be very intelligent, and now he knows that because of his youth and intelligence that “HE” does not have any consequences for his actions. Sounds like his mother has received the real punishment, jail him for a year, so she can get some rest!


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