Autistic hacker escapes penalty

Last updated 11:28 15/07/2008
IAIN McGREGOR/Waikato Times
HACKER: Owen Thor Walker, pictured in the dock at Hamilton High Court, has admitted a faft of cyber crime charges, but escaped conviction.

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A Whitianga teenager who hacked into a computer at a United States university was today discharged without conviction at the High Court in Hamilton.

Owen Thor Walker, 18, was appearing for sentencing after earlier admitting six cyber crime charges.

Both crown lawyer Ross Douch and defence lawyer Tony Balme told the court that New Zealand police were interested in using Walker's skills on the right side of the law.

Justice Judith Potter ordered Walker to pay $9526 as his half share of the damage caused to the university computer and other costs of $5000.

She also ordered Walker - who has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism - to hand over his computer-related assets to police.

Walker was allegedly the mastermind of a "botnet" coding group said to have infected a million computers and caused millions of dollars of damage.

According to police, Walker – known on-line as "Akill" – received just under $40,000 for his part in the attacks, which included a global adware scheme and the collapse of a computer server at the American university.

The investigation was carried out by the New Zealand police in conjunction with the FBI, the United States Secret Service and Dutch authorities.

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- Waikato Times

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