Man accused of cyber attacks on Skype and Google appears in court

Generic shot of computer Credit: PA

A man accused of cyber crime offences linked to alleged online attacks targeting Skype and Google has appeared before magistrates in Birmingham.

Alex Bessell faces a total of 11 allegations, including a charge of possessing a quantity of cocaine when he was arrested in September.

The 21-year-old, of Allington Street, Aigburth, Liverpool, spoke only to confirm his personal details during a ten-minute court appearance on Monday.

Prosecutors allege Bessell set up a web business which made more than 700,000 US dollars (£532,000) in sales from IT viruses.

It is also alleged the defendant infected and controlled more than 9,000 "zombie" computers to orchestrate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on firms including Skype, Pokemon and Google in an attempt to crash their online operations.

Bessell, who appeared in the dock dressed in a blue hooded coat, black jeans and trainers, faces two charges of carrying out unauthorised acts to impair the operation of a computer between August 2011 and November 2013.

He is also accused of causing a computer over the same time period to secure unauthorised access to data with intent to facilitate fraud by obtaining 750 passwords.

Further charges brought against Bessell allege that he gave a false address in Milton Keynes to Companies House, and possessed criminal property - namely 129,822 US dollars (£98,000) from selling illegal items - between May 2014 and September 2016.

Bessell was not asked to enter any pleas and was granted unconditional bail to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on November 27.

The charges against him were authorised after an investigation by detectives at the Birmingham-based West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit.