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Asia-Pacific
NZ man convicted of cyber crime
Teenage hacker led international ring behind theft of millions from bank accounts.
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2008 05:21 GMT

Investigations by New Zealand, American and
Dutch authorities led to Walker's arrest [EPA]

A New Zealand court has convicted a teenager of involvement in an international cyber crime network that caused millions of dollars of damages.

 

Owen Thor Walker, 18, who was accused of being the ringleader network known online as "Akill", pleaded guilty to six computer crime charges on Tuesday.

Walker pleaded guilty to two charges of accessing a computer for dishonest purpose, two charges of accessing computer systems without authorisation, one of damaging or interfering with computer systems and one of possessing software for committing crime.

The network allegedly infiltrated 1.3 million computers and skimmed millions of dollars from victims' bank accounts.

 

He faces a maximum penalty of several prison terms of up to five years, but the Thames District Court judge said he would not jail the teenager, according to an online report from the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

 

Judge Arthur Tompkins set May 28 to hear the pre-sentence and reparation reports which would cover home detention, community detention, community work and a fine for Walker.

 

The newspaper said the FBI had implicated Walker as the ringleader of a group of international programmers who set up a "botnet" that infected a million computers with a virus.

 

A botnet is a network of hacked computers that can be controlled by a single computer via the internet.

 

Walker was arrested following an 18-month investigation by New Zealand police in collaboration with the FBI and Dutch authorities.

 

Police have released few details of the operation.

 

Eight people have been indicted, pleaded guilty or have been convicted since the investigation began last June, while another 13 warrants have been served in the US and overseas.

Source:
Agencies
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