Teenager guilty of million-dollar hacking campaign

A New Zealand teenager accused of leading an international ring of computer hackers which skimmed millions of dollars from bank accounts was today convicted of illegal computer hacking.

Owen Thor Walker, 18, pleaded guilty yesterday to six charges related to using computers for illegal purposes. Police allege that he led a group of hackers who took control of 1.3m computers around the world without their owners’ knowledge.

Hackers routinely send out viruses, worms and malicious Trojan horse programs which allow them to take control of a victim’s machine. Linked through the internet to form a “bot-net” network, the infiltrated computers are used to access personal bank accounts, steal credit card details or bombard users with spam.

Police alleged that Walker wrote software that evaded normal computer anti-spyware systems, and then sold his skills to criminals around the world.

More at http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/apr/01/hitechcrime.hacking

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