News that an 18-year-old New Zealand teenager allegedly at the centre of an international cybercrime network has been charged with various hacking crimes on Friday is proof that advances in hacking techniques are moving at an astonishing speed and that millions of users don’t have adequate protection against the latest threats, says Tier-3's Geoff Sweeney.
The CTO with the behavioural analysis software specialist added that news that Own Thor Walker now faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty illustrates the seriousness of his alleged actions.
"The 18-year-old is thought to have written the software used to hack into 1.3 million computers and even brought down the computer system at a major US university," said Sweeney.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Walker's network had allegedly skimmed about 10 million pounds in total from the victims' bank accounts, as well as crashing a supposed robust server at University of Pennsylvania in 2006," he added.
According to Sweeney, if true, then Walker would have been just 16 years old at the time of these events which is evidence that the opportunity to construct and use software that can compromise so many machines is within the reach of almost anyone who has the skills.
"Regardless of whether he is guilty or not, or whoever committed these crimes, the message has once again been repeated - criminal hacking has moved into a new phase, and companies need to protect their IT resources with security systems that reflect these changes," he said.