Feeds

Kiwi telecom inks contract with convicted hacker

Akill's killing

The essential guide to IT transformation

New Zealand's No. 2 telecommunications company has hired a 16-year-old botnet herder less than 12 months after he pleaded guilty to six computer hacking and fraud charges following an international investigation.

Owen Thor Walker could have received up to five years for his offenses. Now, he has received a contract to provide seminars to TelstraClear, the New Zealand subsidiary to Australia's Telstra. A spokesman for the company said Walker's contract was linked to an online security product known as DMZGlobal.

Authorities accused Walker of operating a botnet composed of more than 1.3 million infected computers. He also crippled a server at the University of Pennsylvania when, in February of 2006, he illegally used it to install updated malware on the fleet of zombie machines under his control, authorities have alleged. He operated under the pseudonym Akill and was ultimately apprehended in an FBI sting dubbed Operation Bot Roast.

TelstraClear's decision to hire a newly convicted hacker seems to be part of a growing trend. Earlier this month, serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis admitted he gave John Kenneth Schiefer unfettered "root" access to his startup's computer network, despite Schiefer's admission 16 months ago that he used a massive botnet to steal bank passwords and other sensitive information.

Other convicts to receive lucrative jobs include Gabriel Bogdan Ionescu, a 22-year-old Romanian hacker who even before he had finished serving his sentence has received an offer for part-time work from a company called Way-Log.

A TelstraClear spokesman was careful to tell a New Zealand publication that Walker had no access to the company's computer network. Still, hiring a freshly convicted hacker to provide security consulting makes about as much sense as hiring a cat burglar to lock down an art museum. Keep hiring cybercriminals and soon every script kiddie will want to be indicted. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.