Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Teen Hacker Contracted By Telco Company

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments
Tags :

A teenage hacker from New Zealand believed to be the ring-leader of a cyber-crime gang has managed to nab himself some work courtesy of his exploits.

When apprehended, Owen Thor Walker (then 18 years old) was described by the FBI as “bright and skilled” at what he was doing. Walker admitted to a total of six charges this time last year, including accessing a computer for dishonest purposes, interfering with computer systems, possession of software for committing crime and accessing computer systems without authorization.

The group is believed to have brought down the server at the University of Pennsylvania and infiltrated more than a million computers before Walker was arrested in November 2007. At the time, police estimated the gang had skimmed $25m in from victims bank accounts by hijacking computers all over the world and networking them to form a botnet. Walker is believed to have written programs unlike any other, capable of evading normal anti-virus software. Despite his guilty pleas, he was not convicted. The teenager was ordered to pay a share of damages caused to hacked machines and to stay away from computers.

A New Zealand news site reports that the 19 year old has since been hired by telecommunications company, TelstraClear. A spokesman for the company. Chris Mirams, said they had contracted Mr Walker for seminars and advertising which had been completed by late last year.

According to the site, TelstraClear considered the rulings, spoke to police who investigated the hacking as well as Walker and his mommy. "We found him pleasant to deal with and he genuinely wanted to help New Zealand businesses by sharing experiences," said Mr Mirams. He did not have access to the TelstraClear network.

We don’t really know what to make of this. Given the fact that he didn’t have access to the computer networks, it doesn’t seem like he had any chance to do any damage. That said, we still wouldn’t trust someone who’d stolen $25m from innocent people.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2009 5:09 PM
    LOL, where did the share that wasn't allocated to damages go? :) 
  • 5 Hide
    grieve , April 9, 2009 5:14 PM
    I don't understand...

    ""Despite his guilty pleas, he was not convicted. The teenager was ordered to pay a share of damages caused to hacked machines and to stay away from computers.""

    Why was he order to do anything if he was not convicted?!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2009 5:14 PM
    'and his mommy'

    Why are you writing like a pre-schooler?
  • Display all 26 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    grieve , April 9, 2009 5:16 PM
    OK..OK… you’re not guilty, so pay these people for the damages you’re not responsible for!

    Am I missing something here?
  • -5 Hide
    Greatwalrus , April 9, 2009 5:19 PM
    Oh yeah, let's offer elite hackers a future career. That will set a good example.
  • 5 Hide
    tenor77 , April 9, 2009 5:20 PM
    grieveOK..OK… you’re not guilty, so pay these people for the damages you’re not responsible for!Am I missing something here?

    Plea bargain. He admitted to the crime.
  • 4 Hide
    bungee91 , April 9, 2009 5:21 PM
    Nocsious'and his mommy'Why are you writing like a pre-schooler?


    I wondered the same thing when I read that.
  • 2 Hide
    deuce271 , April 9, 2009 5:37 PM
    When does he get to hook up with short haired Angelina Jolie?
  • 1 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 9, 2009 5:46 PM
    Nocsious'and his mommy'Why are you writing like a pre-schooler?


    Because I think it's absolutely ridiculous that they involved his mother in the first place. At 19 I had a job and was living on my own and my father or mother was not involved in any kind of career move I made.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2009 5:46 PM
    Mommy is the correct term in New Zealand.
  • -1 Hide
    curnel_D , April 9, 2009 6:13 PM
    Just because the conviction was dropped, doesnt mean that he had to settle with the prosucutor.

    "Prosocutor: Pay what damages we can prove without a doubt, and take a probationary term, or we prosocute. Then you go to jail for 10 years, and you still pay back what damages we can prove after 10 years of evidence, and then still serve probation. Take your choice.

    Owen: Uhmm... Let me think about that one, ok?"
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2009 6:20 PM
    LOL, ring-leader of a cyber-cartel at the age of 18, that's like mad crazy gangsta.
  • 3 Hide
    chris13th , April 9, 2009 6:29 PM
    GreatWalrusOh yeah, let's offer elite hackers a future career. That will set a good example.

    Utilization of great minds for society is a great idea. They make their money by working, and that's one less person the general populace has to deal with. They are no longer bored.
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , April 9, 2009 6:39 PM
    JMcEntegartBecause I think it's absolutely ridiculous that they involved his mother in the first place. At 19 I had a job and was living on my own and my father or mother was not involved in any kind of career move I made.

    So have you met Phoebe Buffay?

    "We found him pleasant to deal with and he genuinely wanted to help New Zealand businesses by sharing experiences," said Mr Mirams. He did not have access to the TelstraClear network.

    By stealing other countries’ secrete?
  • 2 Hide
    deuce271 , April 9, 2009 6:59 PM
    ExcessivelyGangstaLOL, ring-leader of a cyber-cartel at the age of 18, that's like mad crazy gangsta.


    It is when you steal $25 million.
  • 2 Hide
    Greatwalrus , April 9, 2009 7:05 PM
    chris13thUtilization of great minds for society is a great idea. They make their money by working, and that's one less person the general populace has to deal with. They are no longer bored.


    Yeah I guess you are right, I apologize for my ignorant comment.
  • 0 Hide
    waikano , April 9, 2009 8:01 PM
    Nocsious'and his mommy'Why are you writing like a pre-schooler?


    I see you are new to Tom's Comments, that is Jane's was of writing and she tends to forget the sarcasm tags. No worries Jane I like it like that. :) 
  • -3 Hide
    my_name_is_earl , April 9, 2009 8:08 PM
    He should be shot lol.
  • 0 Hide
    brendano257 , April 9, 2009 8:31 PM
    25 Million at 18...lucky bastard...well not the getting arrested part and such XD But if your that good and you make a turn around he could really help make advances in computer safety...although that kinda contradicts his previous "career."
  • -1 Hide
    grieve , April 9, 2009 9:43 PM
    waikanoI see you are new to Tom's Comments, that is Jane's was of writing and she tends to forget the sarcasm tags. No worries Jane I like it like that.

    If Kevin forgot the sarcasm tag EVERYONE would be all over him!
Display more comments