Another Young Cyber Criminal Eludes Jail

Thursday, April 3, 2008 by Mistlee

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David A. Utter

Another Young Cyber Criminal Eludes Jail

Botnet runner Owen Walker, aka AKILL and other names, committed and profited from his role in a gang that infected over a million computers, but did so under the age of 18.

Forget about prison time for Walker. Despite being connected to a group that reportedly stole up to $20 million worth of information through its activities, the so-called "botnet king" probably faces some combination of fines and community service as a penalty.

Security vendor Sophos said the presiding judge will consider Walker's age and supposed impairment from Asperger's syndrome in leaving jail out of the punitive options available.

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"Walker admitted in court that he knew what he was doing was illegal, but did not consider it to be criminal," Sophos' Graham Cluley said in a statement. "With more and more high profile arrests of hackers a clear message must be sent that their activities will not be tolerated."

The wrist slap apparently being readied for Walker's sentencing on May 28 sends the wrong clear message: pull this crap while you're under 18 and you walk away scot-free from your actions.

It isn't the worst example of a judiciary considering youth over crimes. We've mentioned our distaste several times for the German tribunal that decided Sasser creator Sven Jaschan deserved probation and a suspended sentence. The Sasser worm caused millions of real world expenses to companies across the globe, but the Germans decided his crimes took place when he was 17, thus no sentencing of consequence.

About the Author:
David Utter is a business and technology writer for SecurityProNews and WebProNews.
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