A personal trainer who paid a huge price to get a small amount of free parking by hacking into a computer system has now received a two-year suspended prison sentence.
The case of David Young, 30, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court – for an offense dating from May to September 2018 – was the first prosecution under the Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Systems) Act 2017 of information).
The computer crime prosecution stems from an investigation into the hacking of a computer parking system.
David Young was arraigned in Cork Circuit Criminal Court where he pleaded guilty to three of the charges against him relating to the Park Magic system, a private company operating the parking system on behalf of Cork City Council.
Garda Detective Paul Fitzpatrick of the Garda National Cyber Crime Unit brought the charges against David Young of Cois na hAbhann, Cloyne, Co Cork.
The detective said Cork City Council reported an alleged cybercrime against Park Magic in September 2018.
Det Garda Fitzpatrick said there was a temporary vulnerability in its computer system during the software upgrade that allowed manual modification of customer accounts allowing their credit to be increased.
Indeed, David Young used his computer skills to hack into the computer system and he increased the credit on his parking account by a value of €270.
Park Magic hired an IT consultant to fix the problem in the system and this fix cost over $12,000. The defendant paid for all of this work and the €270 for parking.
Judge Boyle said: ‘You have effectively paid a very high price for £270 free parking.’
Defense attorney Emmet Boyle agreed that the amount of money involved in the fraud was actually quite small.
However, Mr Boyle said that the preventive measures newly implemented by the defrauded company to protect its system against such breaches had made it much more robust.
Mr Boyle said the defendant had no previous convictions of any kind and had not received adverse attention from An Garda Síochána since.
David Young pleaded guilty to intentionally accessing an information system without lawful authorization or a reasonable excuse by breaching a security measure between May and August 2018.
He also admitted to using a computer with the intention of gaining for himself and others and causing loss to others. Finally, he admitted having dishonestly obtained a parking loan for a total amount of €270 between May 28, 2018 and August 17, 2018.
Judge Boyle said the compensation of more than €12,000 was a mark of remorse and that the guilty pleas avoided the need for what would have been a lengthy trial.