back to article Wannacry-slayer Marcus Hutchins pleads guilty to two counts of banking malware creation

Marcus Hutchins, the British security researcher who shot to fame after successfully halting the Wannacry ransomware epidemic, has pleaded guilty to crafting online bank-account-raiding malware. For nearly two years now, Hutchins, 24, has been living in the US, while out on bail awaiting trial, after being collared in 2017 at …

  1. oiseau Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Now, for the last act ...

    Hutchins obviously excells at what he does and that is something the goverments (both of them, UK and US) will not want to lose the opportunity to take advantage of, especially if with his work he has discovered a few things he should have not.

    Just where do you think the tip-off to the FBI came from? He traveled to Las Vegas of his own free will and thus it was easier than accepting to extradite him (a UK citizen) to the US, no real political price to pay.

    So ...

    First Act: hold him over a fire till he admits culpability and shows regret (done)

    Second Act: throw the book (and then some) at him (in progress)

    Third Act: make him an offer he can't refuse: no jail time, a slap in the wrist and a nice long contract working for the BigFive.

    With no exit clause, naturally.

    O.

    1. Michael Hoffmann

      Re: Now, for the last act ...

      I could wish you were right, but from reading too much Popehat, that's not how the US court-prison-industrial complex works. The whole "threaten the hackers with jail so they work for you" seems to be a bit of a myth. Is there anybody in the last 10 years where this happened?

      1. Walter Bishop Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Now, for the last act ...

        @Michael Hoffmann: ‘The whole "threaten the hackers with jail so they work for you" seems to be a bit of a myth. Is there anybody in the last 10 years where this happened?’

        According to this esteemed organ, one in four black-hat hackers are snitches (2011). Yea, Adrian Lamo, the 'hacker' who turned in Bradley Manning. Sabu who turned in his fomer collegues on LulzSec. Kevin Mitnick who got turned in by a reporter because Mitnick wouldn't co-operate in a book the journalist wanted to write. So if you want to be a l33t hacker, don't attend conferences, never exchange personally identifiable information on IRC and never ever give interviews to the media :]

      2. JMMV

        Re: Now, for the last act ...

        Pretty sure all of the Lulzsec founders got off with slaps on the wrist in exchange for becoming informants.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now, for the last act ...

        Didgerati, found hosting nasties on his college campus computers, to be part of a hacking gang and with child porn on his PC plus videos of him sending dick pics to minors, slap on the wrist with an FBI deal the judge was not very happy with.

        AKILL - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/newzealand/2403953/Police-may-offer-18-year-old-computer-hacker-a-job.html

        Myself in the UK (hence anon) I was offered work in exchange for them only releasing limited information of my "hacking" sprees to the court and media.

        More mentioned by other commentards, and much much more many you will never hear about, both as infiltrators, snitches and for the more elite, actual work.

        It sounds like a myth but it is a reality and happens, mostly we just don't know about it unless you have first hand experience.

      4. mutin

        Re: Now, for the last act ... - a lot of SecPro needed

        Hey, FBI etc. needs more than ten thousand security professionals. The gap will not be filled in in near future. So, considering his status of convert in "white" he more likely will get an offer. He definitely got some credentials to ask for good pay. That may be already a part of his plea.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Now, for the last act ...

      Isn't that the plot of Swordfish?

    3. Mr Benny

      Re: Now, for the last act ...

      Spare us the standard issue undiscovered genius narrative. If he excelled at it he wouldnt have got caught. Whats more there are many smart people in IT around the world and 99.999% of them dont turn to illegal hacking to get their kicks - they use their gifts for positive undertakings,

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Now, for the last act ...

        “Spare us the standard issue undiscovered genius narrative. If he excelled at it he wouldnt have got caught.”

        As a teenager he failed to completely hide his real identity behind his various online personas. That doesn’t mean that hi is not good at finding and exploiting security weaknesses in software, which is the skill that security services are most interested in.

        1. Mr Benny

          Re: Now, for the last act ...

          "As a teenager he failed to completely hide his real identity behind his various online personas"

          To put it mildly.

          "That doesn’t mean that hi is not good at finding and exploiting security weaknesses in software, which is the skill that security services are most interested in."

          Plenty of others can do the same but they don't break the law.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Now, for the last act ...

            I don’t think the fact that plenty of others can do the same is in dispute or even under discussion.

            1. Mr Benny

              Re: Now, for the last act ...

              Whooooosh....

      2. rg287 Bronze badge

        Re: Now, for the last act ...

        If he excelled at it he wouldnt have got caught. Whats more there are many smart people in IT around the world and 99.999% of them dont turn to illegal hacking to get their kicks - they use their gifts for positive undertakings,

        As a teenager he probably wouldn't have.

        As many have pointed out, it wasn't that long ago when there were no books, courses or certs on security, reverse-engineering malware or anything else. Even five years ago, you were looking at expensive industry certs that an employer was expected to pay for. Not something a teenager could dabble in.

        Nowadays, there are lots of options out there and anyone turning to black-hat "to learn" is making their own bed. But the plethora of resources available these days exist because the likes of Kevin Mitnick (and to a lesser extent Hutchins) went out and broke stuff in their youth and demonstrated quite ably that you do actually need to secure your stuff, because if they can break it, so could the Russians/Chinese/Syrians/corporate competition.

        Judging Hutchins today based on teen antics is as sensible as saying "You, a 35year old, can't work in a cash-handling position because you were cautioned for shoplifting when you were 17".

        Given subsequent "good conduct" in the form of extensive white-hat work, slap on the wrist, chalk it up to youth and move on.

        1. Colin Ritman
          Stop

          Re: Now, for the last act ...

          Any idiot capable of running Wireshark is calling themselves a security expert these days it seems.

  2. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Terminator

    FBI acting on a tip-off collared Hutchins?

    “Hutchins, 24, has been under house arrest in the US after being collared at Las Vegas airport by FBI agents acting on a tip-off”

    What tip-off, Hutchins was collared after being invited to DEF CON in Las Vegas. There's even a story here from Aug 2017 that says GCHQ knew about it. Hutchins having worked for them in the past.

    1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

      Re: FBI acting on a tip-off collared Hutchins?

      Yet another reason not to travel to the US.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: FBI acting on a tip-off collared Hutchins?

      The FBI shouldn't have needed a tip off to find him, because he was publicly tweeting about where he was and what he was doing.

    3. mrobaer

      Re: FBI acting on a tip-off collared Hutchins?

      I don't think the tip-off was regarding his location. It probably had to do with what criminal activity he was involved with.

  3. JLV Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It’d be nice to remember that Kronos was not a benign piece of malware at all. Hutchins seems a pleasant guy so no ill will but, yeah, that’s still his puppy if he created it (and wasn’t just dragooned by USA 2500-years-in-jail pressure tactics).

    Now as to his age, Kronos surfaced in 2014 and he was born in June 1994. You do the math.

    Sad case. Let’s hope for a reasonable sentence, a safe prison, parole when appropriate and that he can pull a Mitnick and get this behind him afterwards.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      But Mitnick spent a big chunk of time behind bars without ever being charged. And they kept him in solitary because some stupid judge believed the lawyers when they said he could set off a nuke using the inprison phones.

      Considering all his done now, sending him to prison would be a massive waste of money. Just give him a suspended sentence and on the quiet hire him.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Possible. He's been in jail for two years... so "time served" might be the deal along with a little arm around the shoulder and "come work for us". If parole is involved, he'll have to stay in the States under supervision. Part of it also will depend on the judge... they could put the "no using computers" for some period of time. Not good for the skillset if that happens.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        He's been under house arrest not prison.

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Not even that.

          "Under US Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s Thursday order, Hutchins, who is currently living in Los Angeles, will no longer be subject to a curfew or to GPS monitoring."

          https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/judge-malwaretech-is-no-longer-under-curfew-gps-monitoring/

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

    And telling lies.. how many people are still naive enough to think he is the hero that stopped wannacry rather than the person that created it, and then panicked when it got out of hand..

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

      "So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

      And telling lies.."

      But, to be fair, he was imprisoned for two years without trial before he admitted that. I don't know whether to believe he even did the stuff he admitted to. The US legal system (I won't say 'justice') has a way of making you admit to all sorts of crimes, whether or not you actually did them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

        Isn't it a little bit convenient that he managed to "discover" the kill switch domain when things started to get out of hand and the NHS was in the process of shutting down..

        Tech Munchausen By Proxy...

        1. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          No. He reverse engineers code for a living. He just happened to find that first. I'm sure other researchers would of eventually found the kill switch.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

            He says lots of things, bit we now know he is a liar. Do you know occam's razor? You should apply it here.

            The facts:

            He writes malware

            He lies

            He found the kill switch..

            Everything else is just fluff to confuse the gullible.. the press of couse have to protect him, as they made such a song and dance about his heroic discovery of the kill switch, they would be top of the lost of idiots if it turned out he was responsible.

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
              Big Brother

              You seem to be really worked up about the lying part. I take it you have never, ever told a lie to anyone, ever, since the day you were born ? Really ?

              Liar.

              1. Colin Ritman

                To the FBI? NO...

                The extent of my lies are Woolworths pick and mix.

            2. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

              "The facts:

              He has been accused of writing malware

              He has been accused of lying.

              Under significant duress he has admitted to whatever the DoJ shoves in front of him to sign.

              He found the kill switch."

              FTFY.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

              Worse than the average Daily Mail reader.

              How about following the case properly, instead of spouting utter drivel/nonsense.

              Hutchins didn't lie, the information was gathered from the transcript of the call he made at the time of arrest. What he seems to have admitted to is the same as he mentioned in the call.

              Stop trying to demonise the guy, he deserves a fair trial. There is the whole case for Amber Rudd to answer. Let's not start on the motives of the Home Office under Rudd, who let him travel to the US (to save the hassle of an extradition request), when US intelligence data seeking his arrest, would have been flagged up through the advance passenger info.

              This Government has pretty much given up protecting UK citizens, making sure they get a fair trial on UK soil first.

              The UK Home Office has questions to answer, for sure.

            4. DougS Silver badge

              How would him lying make the press look bad?

              they made such a song and dance about his heroic discovery of the kill switch, they would be top of the lost of idiots if it turned out he was responsible.

              Where did they "make a song and dance" about it? They reported that he was the one who found the kill switch, and enabled stopping the malware. If it turns out he wrote it, what they printed before is still true, except now you'd have a better explanation of why he was able to "find" the kill switch.

              It is no different than if the press reported a fire was called in by a neighbor, whose quick action saved the house from total destruction, but later investigators determine it was arson and he was responsible for. How would it make the press look bad to have reported the facts the first time, and then reported additional facts later when they came to light?

              Are they supposed to not print any news until the last and final story is in? I guess the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman should still be waiting to make it onto the news, since no one has ever been convicted of the crime.

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

              Thanks, expert on the internet.

              Please tell us again about how your powers of perception are much more astute than the FVEY alliance's & their combined attribution statements.

            6. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

              I don't think you truly understand Occam's razor.

        2. Persona

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          A kill switch in malware is often a bit of code where the return value is not tested so the code will fall over if the call returns an error such as if a file can't be found or opened. When reverse engineering malware it's often trivial to see what files it's accessing so they are easy first things for a malware researcher to probe for flaws.

        3. NonSSL-Login

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          He didn't reverse wannacry and find the kill switch, he just noticed a domain the

          infected call out to was unregistered and registered it probably in the hope of seeing what data clients where sending. He did not know at the time registering that domain would kill wanncry.

        4. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          I know what tools he probably used and I could have done what he did and though I usually know what I am doing, I am definitely not a l33t hacker.

          You do realise you're posting on the forum of a website that's generally frequented by IT professionals right?

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

            Yeah! Wee haf are edumcication!

        5. ATeal

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          man strings

          man grep

    2. Killing Time

      Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

      Well everybody lies so that's no biggie.

      Let's see, imagine he was the source of wannacry, it did get out of hand and he panicked. Publicly claiming to have found the kill switch is an odd thing to do in a panic situation, activating it quietly and keeping your head down seems the more likely choice.

      He has made a full and free confession (no doubt as he was bang to rights) he will no longer be wasting the courts system time, I suspect they will go pretty easy on him.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

        "He has made a full and free confession"

        After being virtually imprisoned for two years thousands of miles from home. So i'd put inverted commas around the 'free' bit there.

        1. Killing Time

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          "He has made a full and free confession"

          House arrest is a long way from imprisoned, virtual or not.

          Free as in not coerced, probably due to the fact that they didn't need to after that schoolboy error on the phone.

          He has admitted being a naughty boy, here he has a chance to get out from under it with some dignity.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

        He had to register a domain name, which is hard to do in a truly anonymous way. I also believe he knows more that he is letting on a out wannacry. The stakes are very high on that one, costing billions. If you get caught being something to do with that one, you aren't seeing sunlight for a very long time

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

        @killingtime

        "Well everybody lies so that's no biggie."

        and just like that, nothing you say has any credibility.

        1. Killing Time

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          'and just like that, nothing you say has any credibility.'

          Well that's a fascinating observation AC. At best demonstrating your naivety, at worst your stupidity.

          Has it passed you by the relationship between Anonymous Coward and credibility?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

            ohh poor baby, did I show you how stupid you are and hurt your feelings? Here, go have a cup of hot coco and a blanket. You'll feel better, if not, there is always Prozac.

            1. Killing Time

              Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

              'there is always Prozac'

              I wouldn't know. Is that what your doctor proscribes you to while away the lonely hours under your bridge?

    3. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

      And telling lies

      This is not a crime, if it were then 99% of our elected politicians would be eating porridge.

      (Cue: discussion on if telling lies should be an offence. +1 from me.)

      1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

        From what I understand, in the US, telling law enforcement a lie is a crime.

        That's why you should never talk or try to be helpful to law enforcement in the US. If you mistakenly lie to the police (mix up time and dates) and they find out, they can use that against you. Will they? Most of the time probably not, but why risk it

      2. Symon Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

        "And telling lies" "This is not a crime"

        Maybe not wherever you live. But it can be in that America. Five years.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Making_false_statements

        Ask "Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Scooter Libby, Bernard Madoff, Michael Cohen and Jeffrey Skilling. " etc...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

          "Jeffery Skilling" Wow, great reference. That guy was left holding the bag for Enron. I'm not saying he was completely innocent, but they set him up as one hell of a scapegoat.

    4. Jason Hindle

      Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

      “And telling lies.. how many people are still naive enough to think he is the hero that stopped wannacry rather than the person that created it, and then panicked when it got out of hand..”

      Unfortunately, the very system of threats, plea bargaining and denial of liberty is in itself not exactly trustworthy when it comes to determining guilt or innocence.

      1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        "Unfortunately, the very system of threats, plea bargaining and denial of liberty is in itself...

        ... not exactly trustworthy when it comes to determining guilt or innocence."

        Exactly. When you're at the mercy of the Merkin judicial system a guilt plea means nothing.

    5. JLV Silver badge

      Re: So now he has admitted to creating nasty malware.

      why stick to the facts when one can engage in wild speculation, character assassination and flights of fancy, eh?

  5. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    It is just sad that the people who created Adobe Flash and Internet Explorer malware are still walking free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hey, Gates is a gazillionaire now and is heralded for the charitable work he does with all the money he extracted. He even got knighted for first extracting shedloads of money from education and then return 0.001% or so of that to have his name on a University building, so clearly it pays.

  6. pleb

    Correction

    They call it the "Department of Corrections". It's for correction and rehabilitation apparently. Maybe they need to open a separate agency to mete out retribution and punishment to those who have already corrected and rehabilitated themselves.

  7. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Cost of plea deals

    Krebs researched publicly available information on Hutchins. In short, Hutchings wrote and distributed malware which might possibly count as legal free speech in the US if he did not know any of the recipients were going to use it to a commit a crime. This pre-dates Kronos. Hutchins' pseudonyms from that time stopped doing anything naughty (eg: hiring others to sell his malware) long before Kronos.

    Beyond all possible doubt Hutchins is guilty of talking to the FBI under caution and without a lawyer. [Do not sign the form that says "I have been read my rights" because between that and the signature box is says "I waive my right to a lawyer". The three things you say during an FBI interview are "Am I free to go?", "Where's my lawyer" and "No comment".] He is also guilty of saying something that can be interpreted as suspicious while talking on a prison phone.

    The plea agreement is all about conspiring with Vinny to sell his Kronos malware. Now that there is a plea agreement the FBI are unlikely to show any evidence they may have. From the outside it will be impossible to tell if Hutchins signed because he is guilty or because of expediency.

    The FBI have done all the standard tricks to (make themselves look guilty) / (convict a criminal with minimal expense to tax payers). I think plea deals cost a large amount of public accountability and confidence in the FBI and legal system.

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cost of plea deals

      The only thing to say is :- "I want a lawyer" and be fairly forceful about it. "Where is my lawyer won't cut the mustard.

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Have-Right-Remain-Innocent/dp/1503933393

  8. sitta_europea Bronze badge

    Nobody seems to have given any thought to the victims of the thefts directly attributable to malicious software that Hutchins has admitted writing.

    Whether or not he was involved in the creation of Wannacry - I always suspected he was but it seems there's no proof, at least not yet - he's admitted that he's comitted serious crimes.

    Yes, his lawyers wrote a nice 'mea culpa' piece for the media which I don't buy for a moment. This was not a one-off mistake. The indictment covers a campaign of criminal activity, sustained over a period of at least a year from July 2014 to July 2015:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3912524-Kronos-Indictment-R.html

    Hutchins should answer for his crimes, like any other criminal. If he's in a position to make any restitution then he should do that too.

    I've never directly lost anything to online banking fraud, but I know people who have, and I know that in the long run we're all victims who pay for it through things like increased bank charges, higher prices for goods, higher taxes to pay for law enforcement and the general aggravation of trying to avoid being the next, er, mark.

    It's the victims who deserve your sympathy, not Hutchins.

  9. Paul Johnson 1

    Plead innocent to stay under house arrest, guilty to go free

    Hutchins has been under house arrest "awaiting trial" for 2 years. Federal sentence guidance is complicated, but according to The Guardian he is likely to get 1 year each for the two counts. By an amazing coincidence this is the amount of time he has already served, as in the USA house arrest can be used as imprisonment for non-violent offenders. (Of course you have to pay for your own housing and food: in the USA you get the justice you can afford).

    So it seems he has been given a choice between pleading innocent and staying under house arrest for an indeterminate period, or pleading guilty and getting out immediately.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For fucks sake

    For crying out loud, when he supposedly did these things, he was a TEENAGER. Teenagers are bastards. END OF. (Hell, I am starting to write like BombasticBob. Please God no…). Teenagers exist to annoy the shit out of adults (anyone over the age of 20). And if they can annoy authority? Wow, instant cum in pants time. Trouble is they mostly do not realise the consequence of their actions. Nor would they care if they did. As I said, they are teenagers and, as far as they are concerned, the whole world is only there for their benefit.

    Thing is, as they get older they do change. Mostly for the better. They can and do learn. Hopefully, this twat will. But I doubt it. He has caved too easily. 2 years in house arrest? I feel so sorry for those people he was living with. And what about those people, if any, who lost money through his banking malware? Does he reimburse those people?

    When I think about it he is more like a teenage version of that Australian twat that cost the British taxpayer a lot of money. Not forgetting his friends that trusted him, put up a lot of money for his bail, and then he shat on them.

    Cheers… Ishy

    P.S. I have had (thankfully only) 2 teenage sons in my time. And whilst I know I will love them until my death, more than once I have wanted to build a bonfire, sit them on top of it and then LIGHT IT.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For fucks sake

      It seems like you changed your opinion half way through your post!

  11. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I once wrote a virus for CP/M. Admittedly it took so long to complete infection that most people would have ejected the floppy before it finished but it worked given enough time. That was back in the 1980s when I was young and stupid. I'm not young any more :)

    My penance is that I still have nightmares about BDOS.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Well unless you already live there that's your trip to the USA blown if ever you planned to go!

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Oh dear. What a shame, Never mind :)

  12. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    It's not so much the code, it's where you put it.

    Here:

    delete *.* /y

    Code we've all used. But in the wrong place, it's a threat to national security. For that matter:

    PRINT "Hello World";

    in the wrong place, could end human life. All of it.

    What he admitted to was writing code that somebody else incorporated into malware. So to me, Marcus Hutchins is innocent until proven guilty. Whatever he admitted to here is part of a plea bargain arrived at using in extremis methods. So, not proven.

    I guess the next time I pop over the border to save $1.73 on discontinued dinnerware patterns, it'll be "if I only have 65536 consecutive life sentences to serve, let me serve them as a blonde."

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: It's not so much the code, it's where you put it.

      If they are storing that as 16-bit you might just get away cleanly...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US justice

    Marcus' case taught me how US justice works. First they arrest you. They charge you with something and ask you to plead guilty. Then they simply wait and keep adding more serious charges every now and then. They do this as many years as necessary until you run out of money, resources and health, and cannot afford to defend yourself anymore.

    Makes me wonder has anyone ever gone all the way to an actual trial? And has anyone ever won a court case against federal prosecutor?

  14. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Stop Whining

    Here's how any just system works...

    If you screw around and delay things for two years, the police is likely going to find more crap to pin against you.

    Also... you're likely to get more time in prison, because for two years... the justice system spent resources on you.

    Hutchins should have just pleaded guilty right off the bat. Then he'd have only faced the original charge with little or no time in prison.

    But no, so many people wanted him to fight it--which is just stupid if you did it, as in this case.

    The NSA and the rest of the G-acronyms have plenty of talented people who don't use their skills to hurt people. Reverse engineers are a dime a dozen in the USA. They don't need a criminal to help explain to them how computer systems work. Think they got this. The only time the government has worked with hackers is as informants to set up other criminals.

    If not too much damage was done, then he'll likely get 6-18 months. If a good deal of damage was done, 12-36 months. Either will come with 12 months of probation afterwards.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Stop Whining

      The NSA and the rest of the G-acronyms have plenty of talented people who don't use their skills to hurt people.

      Really?!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the victims

    What about the people who worked their life, just to be robbed by his coding.

    What if it was your parents that went from retired to living on charity if they can get it, wondering where their next meal will come from.

    This punk has made a life time of bad karma, and it will follow him to the grave.

    The arrogant punks think these are just 'computer crimes" and refuse to see what they do to people.

  16. Marty McFly
    Holmes

    Free Kevin!

    Sounds like the Kevin Mitnick path of career advancement. Do a little crime, do a little time, get a little publicity along the way, and go out for hire. Worked for Kevin - Google has his net worth north of $14M.

  17. lglethal Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Just curious...

    Im curious how it works in the Yank "justice" system - if he wrote the malware as a teenager (im not saying he actually did, I have no facts on this topic, but am interested in the theoretical). Would he be sentenced as a youth (under age) offender? And if there was under normal circumstances a custodial sentence (which as a youth would be to a maximum age of 18), which naturally is long gone now. What happens sentence wise?

    Anyone know what happens in these cirucmstances?

  18. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    Murica

    They made locking people up a business.

    Murica, the biggst criminals going

    CIA have committed so many crimes they make mob bosses look tame

    Still, money needs to be made and nobody loves money more than murica

    Their legal system is a laughing stock and is basically a business model, not a rehabilitation model, and then these cretins wonder why they have so many social ills to contend with

    Look in the fucking mirror you silly cunts

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he aint that smart, he got caught.

    he who tooteth and blaw about their uberskills are full o wind n pish and always get caught.

    maybe once hes tried i dont have to look at his gormless face in pictures anymore.

    get that butthole ready for a plundering marcus, youll end up bubbas beyatch.

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