Teenage Hacker Cons the World, Goes Nearly Scot Free

So imagine you’re re-watching The Social Network, trying to jump on the bandwagon and like Zuckerberg’s snobby, reactionary computer-elitist-sellout-hacker-stand-in. Suddenly, you realize that the only reason you have for really detracting your fandom from the guy, i.e., that he became one of the biggest corporate entities, commodifying every facet of subjective and social experience for the profit of any high-bidding corporation, that maybe somewhere about thirty minutes into the movie, he should have just decided to stick with hacking. How far would he have gone?

Perhaps as far as seventeen-year-old Julius Kivimaki, who was recently found guilty of 50,700 “instances of aggravated computer break-ins.” Now we’re talking. Official court documents state that Kivimaki’s hacker attacks affected Harvard University, MIT, and many others. The attacks involved hijacking emails, jamming up traffic to websites, and the pilfering of credit card information.

JUSTICE TO BE SERVED for the teenage hacker

Most awesomely for himself, the teenage hacker Kivimaki is not in jail. Yes. Instead of prison or any comparable hard time done, this young one isn’t worth the effort, says the District Court of Espoo, who sentenced the boy–whose online moniker is Zeekill–to a two-year suspended prison sentence.

The District Court of Espoo also confiscated his PC, and court ordered him to give back €6,588 ($7,282) worth of property he’d taken throughout his crime run from the law. A Judge Wilhelm Norrmann mentioned in the proceedings that Kivimaki was actually only 15 and 16 years old when he committed the crimes, back in 2012 and 2013.

“[The verdict] took into account the young age of the defendant at the time, his capacity to understand the harmfulness of the crimes, and the fact that he had been imprisoned for about a month during the pre-trial investigation,” said a statement from the court. Ignorance, it seems, is legal bliss.


However there’s one consultant of Europol on cybercrime who was very concerned about the [lack of] sentence. “Whilst [really?] I’m sure the courts concerned all the circumstances surrounding the conviction and the sentence that was warranted, there is a question as to whether such sentences will act as a deterrent to other hackers…It is not necessarily the place of the courts to factor in deterrence in their sentences…[h]owever, if I were another hacking group, was not that bothered about just having something on my record, and saw someone attract a suspended sentence for over 50,000 hacks, some of which caused significant damage, I don’t think it would cause me much concern.” His name (the consultant’s) is Alan Woodward.


He infiltrated more than 50,000 computer servers by exploiting their vulnerabilities in a specific software program each operating system used, called “ColdFusion.” Insodoing, Kivimaki was able to install “backdoors” into tens of thousands of computers, and this allowed him open-access to their information, in de rigueur of old-school hackers.


The prosecutors originally accused the teenage hacker of adding malware to roughly 1,400 servers. They went on to say that he used this proliferation to create a botnet, which he in turn to begin denial of service (DoS) attacks on other systems–a system action which bombards affected computers with internet traffic, swamping them until the term “lagging” doesn’t even begin to limn the state of the screen, one would notice on the receiving end of such an attack.

Kivimaki’s PC’s chat logs reveal that he used the botnet to attack the news site ZDNet and the chat tool Canternet. He was also aiding in the theft of seven gigabytes’ worth of data, which were sent to and from email addresses ending in @mit.edu, i.e. the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies’ system. He used stolen credit card info to make online purchases and shared the info with others, and he was also charged with laundering Bitcoin, which he purportedly used to fund a journey to Mexico…the list goes on. One supposes when it comes to being a digital outlaw, there really are no checkpoints to let you know the order of legally screwed you’re becoming with each passing month and every casual black market deal.


People suffered the loss of abstract property, but what’s interesting is the age of this digital outlaw. We may be catching a glimpse of the future of cyberpunk. Imagine a hidden island of teenage hacker prodigies forming a little abstract nation of their own, holding the powers at be hostage, hacking mainstream media’s sites like NBC, CNN, MTV, producing their own culture…

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