A student who admitted involvement in a string of high-profile cyber attacks has been given a suspended sentence.
Jack Chappell, 19, from Stockport played a “substantial” role in attacking multinational firms including Nat West Bank, Amazon and the BBC.
Judge Maurice Greene said Chappell was exploited by those who masterminded the “globally significant” operation.
The teenager was sentenced to 16 months, suspended for two years, at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
The court heard he is on the autistic spectrum, socially isolated and “vulnerable to exploitation”.
Judge Greene said Chappell did not realise the consequences of his behaviour.
Chappell was 17 when he supplied denial of service software which floods computer networks with with huge volumes of data to make them slow down or crash.
His initial attacks were on an academic network which serves colleges, including the one where he studied in Manchester.
He then joined an international group and played a “substantial” role in organising attacks on companies including Netflix and Virgin Media.
Chappell only received £1,500 from his involvement in a scam which would have netted many thousands of pounds, the court was told.
Chappell and his co-conspirators were paid by “clients” who wanted them to attack organisations.
The defence argued that Chappell had “been manipulated” and could also be considered “a victim”.
“It’s a tragedy to see someone of your undoubted talents before the court,” the judge said.
In a letter to the judge Chappell expressed regret for the effect his actions had on targets, saying: “I have reflected a lot on my actions and I understand that what I did was wrong.”