Court fines teenage Finns for virus website

February 21, 2006 Sophos Press Release

According to media reports, a Finnish court has sentenced two teenagers to pay fines after it was found they had published harmful viruses and Trojan horses on their websites.

The Riihimäki District Court found the young men, who are 17 and 19 years old, had copied the unnamed malicious programs from elsewhere on the internet, and published links to other websites containing harmful code. The 19-year-old was also alleged to have broken into the websites of two organisations, after receiving usernames and passwords from his younger friend.

The District Court determined that publishing links to the malicious websites was against the law. One of the men was also said to have published viral source code on his website, which could be used to create brand new viruses and Trojan horses.

The offences are said to have taken place in 2004. Under the District Court's sentence the 17-year old will have to pay a 360 Euros fine, and his older accomplice 300 Euros.

"The court in Finland has concluded that these two young men were not primarily motivated by a desire to cause damage or trouble, which is good news for the offenders as they have escaped with relatively small fines," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It's a shame that the size of the punishment against these teenagers is unlikely to act as a deterrent to others. As organized criminal gangs increasingly use malware to make money, kids would be wise to avoid getting mixed up in the computer underground."

Companies are recommended to protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus, spyware and spam threats and secure their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.