Jailed hackers prove crime does not pay

The fight against the world’s army of hackers received a couple of boosts this month. In the UK two men have been imprisoned for creating a computer worm for an international hacking group, while in Holland, Dutch police have arrested three men suspected of online crime.

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By  Chris Whyatt Published  October 16, 2005

The fight against the world’s army of hackers received a couple of boosts this month. In the UK two men have been imprisoned for creating a computer worm for an international hacking group, while in Holland, Dutch police have arrested three men suspected of online crime. Andrew Harvey, 22, and Jordan Bradley, 23, released a self-replicating virus known as the TK worm on behalf of hacking group “THr34t Krew” in early 2003. Shortly after, the ‘typical bedroom hackers’ were arrested after a joint sting between the National High Tech Crime Unit and the FBI. At court the judge said the worm created a rogue network of compromised PCs that was “unquantifiable”. The duo have now been sentenced to six and three months, respectively, after pleading guilty to admitting conspiracy to cause unauthorised modification of computers with intent. “With any luck these prison sentences will send a stern message to the virus community that distributing malicious code is not acceptable,” said Alan Bentley, UK managing director of patch management company PatchLink. Over 100,000 computers worldwide are thought to have been hacked into by the indivduals recently arrested in Holland. Dutch prosecutors suspect they may be responsible for a Trojan horse, entitled W32.Toxbot, which was first spotted earlier this year. The malware allows attackers to remotely control infected systems and steal confidential information by logging keyboard entries. The three unnamed men, between 19 and 27 years old, are also suspected of hacking into accounts at PayPal payment service and online auction giant eBay. The network of hijacked computers, known as a ‘botnet’, is believed to have been used in an extortion scheme against unidentified US businesses. ‘Botnets’ are increasingly being flagged up by leading security figures as posing the biggest danger to online security right now. Dutch prosecutors continue to investigate and more arrests are expected.

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