According to a newly published web-based poll of 330 individuals, 86 per cent believe that Andrew Harvey and Jordan Bradley got off lightly when they were sentenced to six months and three months in jail respectively.
Only 3 per cent of respondents believed that the punishment given by Newcastle Crown Court for creating the TKBot-A Trojan horse was too harsh. In contrast some 11 per cent of those who responded to the poll organised by security firm Sophos deemed the punishment fair.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos said the results indicated that businesses "are sick to the back teeth" of cyber criminals. "People are realising that malware authors are not geniuses engaged in some harmless mischief, but causing serious disruption to business systems, and should be dealt with seriously."
Bradley, 22 and Harvey, 24, who pleaded guilty to the charges against them, conspired together, and with others, to break into innocent users computers and then send commands to the infected machines.
"The fact that these young men operated through the virtual environment doesn't make this illegal intrusion less real or less potentially damaging," added Cluley.
"They were fully aware of their destructive actions and a harsher sentence would have sent a stronger message to all who write computer viruses, worms and Trojans."