A British teenager has received a six-month suspended sentence for releasing a worm designed to turn victims' PCs into spam generating stations.
The 16 year-old was sentenced in South Cheshire Juvenile Court in Crewe for releasing the Randex worm, which installed a Trojan onto computers that allowed them to be used by spammers.
A combined operation between New Scotland Yard, the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police led to his arrest, along with two Americans and a Canadian.
"The youthful members of this gang would most likely have been treated much more severely if they were a few years older," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.
"It is important that everyone, regardless of their age, learns that the authorities are not going to turn a blind eye to computer crime."
The investigation began after networks of infected PCs were found on sale to spammers and hackers seeking to attack websites. One site brought down by the network was www.weakknees.com in Los Angeles.
In an operation dubbed 'Cyberslam' police arrested the foursome, none of whom are thought to be old enough to be sent to prison.
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