Dutch Toxbot Hacker Appeals Jail Sentence

The leader of a gang that committed what has been described as the Netherlands’ biggest cybercrime is appealing his sentence.

The man, a 20-year-old from Loon op Zand whose name has not been released, was sentenced on Jan. 30 to two years in prison and a 9,000-euro (US$11,691) fine. Prosecutors had been seeking three years imprisonment and a 30,000-euro fine.

The second hacker, a 28-year-old man from Rijswijk, was given 18 months in prison and fined 4,000 euros. He did not appeal his sentence.

Because one of the men is appealing, the prosecutor also appealed the sentence on Tuesday. "The penalty they were given is a little less then we had asked for. That’s why we want to try and raise the jail term," said Desiree Leppens, spokeswoman for the National Public Prosecution Service in Rotterdam.

The two men were found guilty of writing the Toxbot and Wayphisher viruses. They used the Toxbot virus to infect millions of computers in 2005. The virus included a key logger that provided the hackers with user names and passwords of eBay and PayPal accounts, as well as some personal credit-card information. The card information was used to buy equipment including PlayStation consoles, iPods and digital cameras, as well as luxury goods such as Prada shoes.

They were also charged with blackmailing some companies, including Loudcash and the advertising software maker 180Solutions, now renamed Zango, by threatening them with a denial-of-service attack. The hackers were active between June and October 2005.

Zango settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in November for US$3 million following concerns that distributors of its software were installing it on computers without user consent, often by exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems or Web browsers.

It’s not known yet when the appeal will be heard.

-Edwin Feldmann, WebWereld Netherlands

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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