A web poll of more than 330 business PC users, conducted by
Sophos, has revealed that 86% believe that the British virus
writers, who were jailed last Friday,
should have been dealt a harsher sentence by the authorities.
Members of the Thr34t-Krew cyber crime gang, Andrew Harvey and
Jordan Bradley were sentenced to six months and three months in
jail respectively for causing unauthorised modification of
computers with intent. Sophos believes that these results reflect
businesses' increasing intolerance to those who commit computer
Only 3% of respondents believed that the sentence given by
Newcastle Crown Court was too harsh. 11% deemed the punishment for
creating the TKBot-A Trojan horse, which was designed to take
control of internet-connected computers belonging to third parties,
Is the Thr34t-Krew malware gang's jail
|not harsh enough?
"The fact that such a high percentage of respondents in our web
poll think these hackers should have received a more severe
punishment shows that businesses are sick to the back teeth of
those who engage in computer crime," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant at Sophos. "People are realising that malware
authors are not geniuses engaged in some harmless mischief, but
causing serious disruption to business systems, and should be dealt
Bradley, 22, and Harvey, 24, who pleaded guilty to the charges
against them, conspired together, and with others, to break into
innocent users computers and then send commands to the infected
"The fact that these young men operated through the virtual
environment doesn't make this illegal intrusion less real or less
potentially damaging," continued Cluley. "They were fully aware of
their destructive actions and a harsher sentence would have sent a
stronger message to all who write computer viruses, worms and
Sophos continues to recommend that computer users ensure their
anti-virus software is up-to-date, and that companies protect
themselves from similar threats to those posed by the Thr34t-Krew,
with a consolidated solution which can
defend them from the threats of viruses, spyware and spam.
Many respondents also sent comments to Sophos in reaction to the
survey. Here is a small selection:
"The malicious actions of hackers, spammers and virus spreaders
is hurting the economy. The lost production and money spent
defending against these threats is placing a burden on companies.
They should be applying stiffer penalties to deter people from
engaging in these actions."
"It seems to me that at their young age a stiffer sentence would
have been more useful. Generally, in the United Kingdom, sentencing
is too soft and prison does not have proper means to rehabilitate.
At least 18 months and one year respectively of prison accompanied
by some physically hard but not detrimental labour would have been
punishment and deterrent. Stimulating mental activity to direct
obviously curious and intelligently creative brains to endeavours
interesting to themselves and useful to society at large could well
have turned them into useful citizens. One year to eighteen months
is not a long time. But six and three months is ridiculous. It is
just about long enough to turn these young and intelligent
criminals into young and intelligent citizens. The harm that they
have caused may have seriously affected someone's life and life
chances. Harm that may well take much longer than a few months to
put right. The further potentially devastating harm they could have
caused must be prevented from coming to fruition."
"The real issue here is, this is no real deterrent. I suspect
that although there have been sentenced to six and three months
respectively, they will probably only serve a maximum of half the
time allocated, so what sort of message does that send out? I
understand that they are being made some sort of example of,
however, a longer sentence would have been more appropriate, when
you consider the potential problems that could have been caused
together the subsequent devastating effects."
Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that this poll is
not scientific and is provided for information purposes only. The
comments expressed on this page are those of a subsection of poll
participants, and not necessarily those of Sophos. Sophos makes no
guarantees about the accuracy of the results other than that they
reflect the choices of the users who participated. Sophos reserves
the right to edit participants' comments for the purposes of
clarity, brevity and decency. Sophos reserves the right not to
publish the comments of all participants.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.