Monday, March 23, 2009

New Zealand: TelstraClear Hires Teen Bot Master

Owen Walker

Michael Field writes on The Age:

TelstraClear, Telstra's New Zealand subsidiary, has hired one of the worlds best known hackers - a teenager known as "Akill".

Nineteen-year-old Owen Thor Walker became the subject of a US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) cyber crime investigation spanning the United States, Europe and New Zealand and dubbed "Bot Roast".

New Zealand police finally caught him last year and he admitted to being the ring-leader, code-named Akill, of a group known as the A-Team.

Starting as a 16-year-old at school, Mr Walker designed and planted "botnets" which are a network of hacked computers able to be controlled via the internet by a single computer.

He came up with a system that beat anti-virus software, it spread automatically and it destroyed rival bot codes.

His botnet reached at least 1.3 million computers.

He pleaded guilty to six cyber crime charges but when he ended up in the High Court in Hamilton Justice Potter did not convict him but ordered him to pay a share in damage caused to hacked computers and to stay off computers.

More here.

Image source: The Age / Iain McGregor / Waikato Times


At Mon Mar 23, 11:20:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one disturbed by the trend of hiring notorious blackhats fresh out of the courtroom? I'm sorry, but I don't think HR should be considering high-profile blackhat cases as their next great potential talent pool. It smacks as much of laziness as it does of indifference to injustice. I'm sorry, but there is are plenty of highly-talented techs who have not perpetrated multiple felonies - but I guess that would mean someone might have to read a resume or something...

What's next? Lamenting that the 9/11 hijackers died because otherwise they would have made great airline pilots?



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