Teenagers jailed over ‘Facebook for criminals’

Two British schoolboys have been jailed for running a website that provided a forum for criminals.

Nick Webber, 19, and Ryan Thomas, 18, created and operated GhostMarket.net, which gave details of tens of thousands of stolen credit cards. The site had about 8,000 members.

It contained instructions on ’14 ways of hacking credit cards’ and ‘running cards on eBay’, along with manuals on how to manufacture crystal meth and explosives.

The pair were still at school when they were arrested after trying to pay a hotel bill with a stolen card, the Guardian reports. After finding details of 100,000 stolen credit cards on Webber’s laptop, the police uncovered the existence of the GhostMarket.net site.

The pair jumped bail and fled to Spain, but were rearrested after returning to the UK early last year.

Webber, who described himself on the site as ‘probably the most wanted cyber criminal right now’ was the privately educated son of a former politician. After his arrest, he threatened to blow up the boss of the police e-crimes unit. (Apparently his school reports descibed him as ‘lacking social skills’.)

Police estimate that the site cost credit card users as much as £16.2 million. The pair used an offshore bank account in Costa Rica to process the funds.

The two face up to five years in jail. Passing sentence, Judge John Price said: “This was a criminal enterprise offering sophisticated advice on how to hack into computers, cause them to malfunction and retrieve personal information from computers – and how to do it on massive scale.”