Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 11 May 2006 12:00

Jail sentence for spammer too light says poll

Tjaguar_mk2-lhe majority of computer users in a web poll are disappointed by the jail sentence meted out by the US courts to Jeanson James Ancheta, the 21-year old who was yesterday imprisoned for seizing control of 400,000 PCs to install revenue-generating adware. Ancheta also sold access to the zombie network to others who wished to launch denial of service attacks and spam campaigns.

A web poll of 275 PC users, conducted by Sophos, found that 60% of respondents think Ancheta's 57 month jail sentence - which is the toughest ever handed out to a malware writer - is too soft. A mere 24% believe the punishment fits the crime, while just 16% feel it is too harsh.

"These results prove that there is little love lost between PC users and cybercriminals - there is a distinct lack of sympathy from legitimate IT users for those people who try to make their lives harder," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Ancheta's crimes caused distress and financial loss to thousands of individuals and companies and, as a result, the US justice system came down on him tougher than ever seen before. But it seems this is still not enough for the majority of people."

Participants of the poll were also asked to suggest alternative punishments for virus writers. A common suggestion was that those convicted of cybercrimes should be banned for life from using PCs and other technology.

"PC users want cybercriminals neutralised. Many feel that the only way to achieve this in the long-term is to deprive hackers and virus writers of the thing they love and know the best - technology," continued Cluley.

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



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