Page 4 Sunday Times Article about me
THE man behind a series of cyberattacks on government websites is today revealed as a father seeking revenge after losing custody of his only child.
Winston Smith was tracked down by The Sunday Times after an attack this month that resulted in the Home Office website crashing.
The 37-year-old southeast London is a member of Anonymous, the international hacking group, which has plagued government websites including that of GCHQ, the communications headquarters, in recent weeks.
Explaining his motivation, Winston said: “A lot of people who end up in Anonymous do so because something bad has happened to them that has made them change their view of the world.
“For me that was the family courts. I don’t see any difference between the family courts and the extradition and rendition cases. Parents are having their children forcibly taken away from them and there’s nothing they can do. All the decisions are made behind closed doors.”
Winston co-hosts a regular internet radio show with other hackers using the alias “Winston Smith”, a reference to the protagonist in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In a photograph posted online, he appears with his face obscured by a V for Vendetta mask, used by members of Anonymous, the network of hackers that co-ordinates via social networks and private online channels.
However, The Sunday Times identified him from details he provided about himself during his online broadcasts and from documents on his Facebook page in which he had not fully redacted personal details.
After being contacted, Winston agreed to meet at a branch of Starbucks in Greenwich, southeast London. He arrived, as promised, wearing the same brown trenchcoat he wore in his online photograph.
Winston, who claimed to have served as a soldier in Northern Ireland before moving into the financial sector, said his cyberattacks were a protest against the family courts, the police and Crown Prosecution Service, as well as the General Medical Council, which had failed to review his case.
His former wife was awarded custody of their child last year and has since left Britain.
He said he had been contacted by an Anonymous member, XX, who had seen his blogs about his experiences of the family courts
“She was based at the Occupy camp [in London] and introduced me to some of the other members or ‘Anons’ as we call them,” Winston said. “I didn’t want to be a part of Fathers4Justice or one of those little groups. They’re too narrow in their focus while Anonymous are taking on the whole system.”
The attack on the Home Office website was made using a strategy called distributed denial of service which swamps the site with so many requests that it crashes. Edwards broadcast the April 7 attack live to the strains of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.
His cell was also involved in an effort by Anonymous to take down the Formula One website on Friday in protest at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Attempts to cripple the GCHQ website in protest at the government’s extradition, surveillance and justice policies have failed.
Winston said fellow hackers from Anonymous, which has targeted dozens of corporate and government websites, coached him on how to launch cyberattacks. “I was contacted by an established member and knew I had to talk back to him in a certain way to be accepted, it’s like a secret handshake,” he said. “You can’t just call yourself Anonymous or they will attack you online.”
Winston’s actions appear to be in breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, which was amended in 2006 to criminalise denial of service attacks. It carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. The Home Office said: “This is something we are taking very seriously. The police are looking into it and it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”
So how the hell did I go from having Military Service followed by 13 years in Investment Banking to ending up on Page 4 of the Sunday Times apparently a Cyber Terrorist launching attacks for the sake of vengeance? The story involves one of the worst cases of corruption in this countries history driven by greed, corruption and finally cover-ups by civil Servants, regulators, MPs and Cabinet Ministers. What you will read will see out of a fictional novel, but are true accounts of how corrupt the UK truly is and a man who met Anonymous in need and fought back with his Anonymous Family beside him.