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New Zealand Teenager Indicted with Charges of International Cyber Crime

A teenager in New Zealand who allegedly participated in activities of a cyber crime gang at an international level appeared before a jury on February 29, 2008 to defend himself against charges of computer hacking. He was, however, set free on bail.

18-year-old Owen Thor Walker, a computer programmer from Whitianga, faced charges with a couple of instances of infiltrating a computer dishonestly for unlawful purposes, interfering or damaging a computer machine, possessing and using software for criminal acts, and two instances of making unauthorized access of a computer. Stuff.co.nz published this on February 29, 2008.

Police arrested Walker in November 2007 in North Hamilton after a global investigation found him part of an Internet crime network that was accused of tampering with 1.3 Million computers to rob bank accounts of victims for millions of dollars. International Herald Tribune published this on February 29, 2008.

Police officials said that they focused on the online activities of Walker who used the Internet address 'Akill". This resulted in Walker's arrest simultaneously with Operation Bot-Roast, an operation by FBI to trace cyber criminals. According to investigators, 'Akill' belonged to a small elite group called 'A-Team' that developed malicious code.

Peter Devoy, Detective Inspector and Spokesman of Police, said that for the investigation, they took help from Dutch and US authorities. He said that Walker's arrest is significant not only to New Zealand but also for the world community. International Herald Tribune published Devoy's statement.

Devoy further added that people who do this kind of offensive act have hardly been prosecuted, therefore, the justice brought to the current case has immense international implications.

Police officials and security experts said that the case proves how it is possible to crackdown on internationally operating hackers who unlawfully gain control of large numbers of computers to build centrally controlled botnets.

According to authorities, hackers could use the compromised computers for theft of credit card details, manipulation of stock trades, and even for crashing corporate computers.

Authorities also said that since the investigation started in June 2007, eight individuals have been legally accused who have admitted guilt, or have been proved guilty.

Related article: New Zealand Releases Code To Reduce Spam

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