Matthew Anderson – the Scottish botnet master who was found guilty of organizing a campaign that saw computers enslaved in a botnet, stealing data from their owners and spying on victims through remotely operated webcams – has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
To some, this may seem as a fitting punishment for his misdeeds, but for those who will compare it to the sentence recently doled out to David Kernel – the hacker that compromised Sarah Palin’s e-mail account – it might seem unusually lenient.
After all, Kernel compromised the privacy of one person, and got 12 months plus a day in a halfway house. Anderson got 18 months in prison (eligible for parole in 9 months) for compromising computers and personal and financial information of thousands of people, not to mention their privacy in the most sleazy and invasive way possible – by spying on them in their own home.
IT World points out that the reasons behind such a relatively small sentence could be found in the period during which his illegal activity was conducted (before the harsher Police and Justice Act of November 2006) and the fact that he was doing all of it less for the money involved than for the rush he was getting from hacking.
I don’t know about you, but I would feel less violated if someone stole my money than if I was spied on.