Feeds

Kiwi telecom inks contract with convicted hacker

Akill's killing

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.