New Zealand hacker walks free from court

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A teen hacker who admitted taking down a US university's computer, was allowed to walk free from court yesterday.

Owen Thor Walker, 18, known by his online name 'AKILL', was thought to be the ring-leader of a hacker network which infiltrated 1.3 million computers around the world and nicked millions from victims' bank accounts.

He admitted two charges of accessing a computer for dishonest purposes, two charges of accessing computer systems without authorisation, damaging or interfering with computer systems and one charge of possessing software for committing crime.

The charges were all related to a 2006 attack on the University of Pennsylvania's engineering school.

Both prosecutor Ross Douch and defense lawyer Tony Balme told the Hamilton High Court that New Zealand police were interested in using the teen's skills.

Justice Judith Potter ordered Walker to pay US$7,300 for damage caused to the university computer and other costs of US$3,800.

He also had to hand over all the computer gear he bought with the proceeds of his life of crime.

Walker designed software that was used to take cash from people's bank accounts. He was paid $30,600 by criminals for his work.

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