Friday, November 30, 2007

NZ Cops Praise "Bright and Gifted" Hacker

New Zealand police announced today they have, with the help of Dutch investigators and the FBI, apprehended an 18 year old resident of Hamilton, NZ.

The 18 year old is accused of creating - and selling to criminal gangs - an encrypted piece of malware that enabled professional criminals around to world to evade certain antispyware apps and cause more than $20 million in economic losses.

Martin Kleintjes, the head of the New Zealand Police Computer Crime Unit, knew exactly how to deal with this kind of criminal, and very quickly put him in his place:

"He is very bright and very skilled in what he’s doing. He hires his services out to others. [He is} one of the world leaders in terms of developing this sort of software - it’s absolutely first-class."

At the conclusion of this damning statement, sure to drive fear into the hearts of aspiring NZ hackers everywhere, Mr Kleintkes metaphorically patted the youth on the head, and sent him home to await a call back.

Test Question. You've just nabbed a bank robber that you're pretty sure has stolen $20m from a bank in downtown Auckland. Do you let him go home?

Despite the size of the crimes perpetrated, and the fact that the youth appears to have actively sought out criminal partnerships, the youth, known as "AKILL" online, is not facing an immediate stint in jail.

He has indeed been sent home by Mr. Kleintjes, pending further investigation. In addition, his identity has been protected, just in case some of the crimes he allegedly conducted happened prior to him turning 18.

Note: his crime was enabling identity fraud. Anyway see a contradiction here?

Authentium to New Zealand Police Computer Crime Unit: murderers can oftentimes appear intelligent and charming. That doesn't mean they should be mollycoddled. Cybercrime of this magnitude needs to be taken seriously and the perpetrators treated no differently than any other form of grand larceny, including bank robbery.

Consumers are sick to death of this kind of crime, and praise just leads to replication of effort. We need to start throwing the book at these guys.

Further note re this hack: Most sophisticated forms of antispyware or antimalware technology can detect encrypted malware of this type. Users should update to the latest available definition files regularly.

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