Owen Walker

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Owen Thor Walker (online pseudonym AKILL) is a computer hacker living in New Zealand, who was discharged without conviction despite pleading guilty to several charges of 'cybercrime'.[1][2] In 2008 he admitted to being the ringleader of an international hacking organization estimated to have caused $26 million worth of damage.[1][3]


Walker was home-schooled from the age of 13.[4][5] He received no formal computer training, instead teaching himself programming and encryption.[1][5][6] He had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.[7]


Walker was arrested under sections 248-252 of New Zealand's Crime Act after international investigations by the FBI found him to be involved in an attack on the computer network of the University of Pennsylvania.[8] The attack was orchestrated via a botnet established by Walker, using servers he exploited and rented, the majority of which were located in Malaysia.[9]


He pleaded guilty to his connection in the crime, was fined for the cost of the damage to the University of Pennsylvania computer and was discharged without conviction, the presiding judge concluded that a conviction would only harm his future.[10]


In 2008 he was hired by TelstraClear, the New Zealand subsidiary of Australian telecommunications company Telstra, to work with their security division DMZGlobal. As a security consultant, he presented seminars and appeared in advertising. TelstraClear spokesman Chris Mirams said it was not the equivalent of hiring a bank robber to advise on bank security.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Superhacker convicted of international cyber crime". New Zealand Herald. 16 July 2008.
  2. ^ "NZ teenage hacker charges dropped". BBC News. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Internet pushes boundaries in 2007". New Zealand Herald. 29 December 2007.
  4. ^ "Named: NZ teen in cyber-scam". New Zealand Herald. 1 December 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Self-taught hacker admits worldwide attacks". New Zealand Herald. 1 April 2008.
  6. ^ "The cyber star left to shine". New Zealand Herald. 20 July 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Teen hacker has mild autism". NZHerald.co.nz. NZME. Publishing Limited. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Bot-boy caught in his own net". New Zealand Herald. 8 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Owen 'Akill' Walker was part of botnet 'A-team'". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 12 April 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Shenagh Gleeson and Newstalk ZB (15 July 2008). "Conviction would harm hacker's future - judge". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  11. ^ Telstra Offshoot Hires Teen Hacker Akill, WAToday [Westarn Australia]