Little Green Monsters...
Personally, I think he lacked the self-control of ego, which is ultimately the downfall of a hacker but at 17 years old who's going to fault him for that ?
I've been a software engineer for nearly a quarter of a century and time and time again it is the same basic security flaws that let these people walk over over the platters. If *we* as an industry / user community can't learn then we get what we deserve I guess.
On a similar vein I have nothing but sympathy for Gary Mc-Kinnon too, again, he was technically off-legal but his motives were not criminal despite his actions being so; we should get these people on our side instead of letting the crims recruit them although sadly, what with the way of the world the 'dark side' appears to be more attractive these days. I blame Darth Vader. And Blair, and Brown and the rest of the gravy-train career politicians we've had to endure in the UK for far too long. I too received a letter when our details were recently lost. Have these goons not heard of TrueCrypt for one ? Sheesh.
OK, he did some bad things and fortunately nobody was physically harmed in the process but let's just remember one thing, this 'kid', at age 17 has managed to run rings around systems everywhere and there are bigger, harder dirtier scumbags than him out there, older, wiser and much more focussed on 'other' motives.
It is them we should be targeting our efforts at giving a good beating behind the barn, this kid ought to be heading up the task force to track them down in my opinion.