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Mariposa Botnet Authors Unlikely To See Jail Time

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank dept.

Botnet 163

krebsonsecurity writes "Three Spanish men were arrested last month for allegedly building an international network of more than 12 million hacked PCs that were used for everything from identity theft to spamming. But according to Spanish authorities and security experts who helped unravel the crime ring, the accused may very well never see the inside of a jail cell even if they are ultimately found guilty, due to insufficient cyber-crime legislation in Spain. 'It is almost impossible to be sent to prison for these kinds of crimes in Spain, where prison is mainly for serious crime cases,' said Captain Cesar Lorenzana, deputy head technology crime division of the Spanish Civil Guard. ... Spain is one of nearly three dozen countries that is a signatory to the Council of Europe's cybercrime treaty, but Spanish legislators have not yet ratified the treaty by passing anti-cybercrime laws that would bring its judicial system in line with the treaty's goals."

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So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371876)

Fine them 50 million, release them, wait for them to knock over a bank, then throw them in jail.

Re:So... (2)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372066)

Release their personal details to the public. It'll take about 24 hours for vigilantes to solve the problem.

Re:So... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373594)

How about this ...
* The spammer gets a fishhook enema.
* They are dangled off the back of a boat as 'shark bait' in waters where the odds of them getting eaten are equitable to those of a person's computer being infected by one of their 'special e-mails'.
* The 'Fishing With Spammers' TV show gets to preempt the Olympics.

Make punishment fit the crime... (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372454)

Essentially what these spammers have mostly done is cause a lot of people a great deal of inconvenience. If they are guilty of phishing attacks, then that would surely come under the heading of theft or fraud, which would be punishable by jail under Spanish law.

Otherwise, jailing the creeps only places another drain on society, when what you really want is to stop them being antisocial, and preferably discourage others from doing the same. So how about this, for a change:

Make the guys do something actually useful for a few years. Like send them out on supervised work orders to pick up rubbish from the streets, scrub public loos and remove graffiti.

Re:Make punishment fit the crime... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373444)

That would take away "jobs", aka the overpaid uneducated contractors who do these thing for the municipalities.

To a government bean counter, jail is a much more saleable proposition because it increments a bunch of line items.

Is this why they based themselves in Spain? (0, Redundant)

Green Light (32766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371888)

Are the alleged criminals from Spain, or did they move themselves there, knowing the legal situation?

No, I did not RTFA!

And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent crime (3, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371910)

Yes, these people should be punished. But I agree with Spain's prison/court system when they say that prison is for violent crime.

There's other ways to punish people and have them be productive to society, instead of rotting in prison. Sure, there may be special cases, but for the most part if you're not a physical danger to people then there's no need to keep you separated from the population.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371978)

Eww, seriously? A criminal roaming free in the streets? They'll corrupt my children... Think of the property values...

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372106)

Yea, imagine the exodus from the neighborhood when they know that a spammer moves into the street. You know, coz spammers only cause problems for their neighbors.

Oh, for the days when fighting spam meant catching the asshole who persisted on ignoring your "no junk mail" sign.

Fighting spam the old way (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372304)

Oh, for the days when fighting spam meant catching the asshole who persisted on ignoring your "no junk mail" sign.

I still get more junk mail in my letterbox than I do junk email.

Occasionally I do manage to catch the creeps. I live in a cul-de-sac street, so delivery people have to go out the way they come in. So if I do happen to see them shove paper in my mailbox, I accost them as they retrace their steps and make them take it back.

Re:Fighting spam the old way (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373484)

I'm not sure how long I've advocated (IIRC I haven't had an original thought in seven or eight years, so...) that bulk mail should be tolled at a higher rate, to subsidize the First Class postage of legitimate mail. Then we adjust the rates up until the flow is choked off, or start adding fees to the bulk rate to pay for stuff like missions to Iraq And definitely jail abusers of our USPS.

Re:Fighting spam the old way (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373586)

The problem isn't so much the teenagers/college kids actually delivering the junk - they are part of the problem yes, but the fight should be taken to the source: idiotic advertisers. Door-to-door is wasteful and inefficient.

Around here, we have a little semi-legit print shop that distributes a take-out/delivery menu quarterly. They get a bunch of local restaurants to submit their menus and flyers, work them into a small laminated leaflet and deliver that within a 10 block radius. I find those exceptionally handy, we keep it next to the phone (yes, I fail at cooking). Way better than getting two dozen pieces of folded paper each week. And those real-estate, beautician and duct-cleaning flyers ? Fuck em. If I need a real estate agent, I'll find one in the yellow pages. I don't need some sleazy pant-suit-wearing divorcee bragging about how many houses she sold last year, particularly if I'm living in an apartment building :P

The ad "industry" is a very competitive one. Old-world practices such as mailbox stuffing are obsolete, and should be actively punished.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372042)

they need to be separated from the computer poplulation!

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372532)

I thought internet access was a human right?

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372044)

And what of Con men, who will happily pay the fine and go right back out and swindle more people?

Or people whom, through callous disregard, 15,000 people in Bhopal die from a venting of tonnes of poisonous gas?

Or somebody who steals cars without the threat of violence?

None of those are 'violent' crime. And yet I feel that prison is a reasonable punishment for all of them. What makes a botnet different? It's showing the same sociopathic behavior as my other examples, so why should it be special?

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372228)

You assume, incorrectly, that I mean there should just be a small fine and set them free.

There's lots of options for punishing people without dropping them in a prison cell. You can strap tracking devices to them, you can restrict their movements, you can force them to do community service, you can enforce fines to be taken from their paychecks, etc, etc.

Seems 15,000 people dying from poison gas is pretty violent to me. No? I mean, people died.

Yea, so there's the Car thing. I think car thieves suck, but again, it's just property. Locking someone up for decades doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

You seem to think that people should be locked up for behaving in a certain way - because that behavior is a "gateway" to other crimes? Such a tired argument..

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372476)

The thing is these dudes did (and will do) millions of dollars of damage. They did a b&e on thousands of computers and will not see a day in jail?

There is no penalty for these guys. Apparently you have never had your life turned upsidedown from your 'identity' being stolen. It takes *YEARS* to fix. Then when you think you have it all fixed it all comes back. Meanwhile the dudes who did it are long gone and the money spent.

By your reasoning no one should go to jail except murderers. Prison is to keep people who are basically serial criminals out of society. Jails are a punishment to the 'one offs'.

Steal a car take it to a chop shop and all I have to do is pick up garbage on the side of the road every weekend. Many people would see that is a fair exchange. Then if all I have to do is pick up garbage what else can I get away with.

The idea is to punish the offender into NOT DOING things. As those things hurt society as a whole. Also most punishments are graduated. 2 yrs first 5 yrs second etc...

You apparently have not been around people like this. They are looking for every angle and they do not care who they hurt/steal/burn along the way. Just so long as they get what they want.

You sir are blaming the victim.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373214)

So, since when does "Violent Crime" only equal murder?

Prison isn't just used for serial criminals, although usually you don't get prison time for non-violent offenses on the first offense. But you will if you cause enough money in damage. To put it briefly, it's all about money..

I believe there's other ways of punishing people besides continuously filling up the prison system. Ways to punish people and have their punishments benefit the community. Prison often has the opposite effect of behavioral "correction."

I'm really not sure where you could get off saying I'm blaming a victim? I haven't even talked about that. And if you think the only reason to put people in prison is to make someone else (the victim) FEEL BETTER, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your position and look at what's better for society as a whole instead of temporary feelings.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373312)

But you will if you cause enough money in damage.

So how much jailtime will bank execs face?

A little money: Jailtime/community service
A lot of money: Prison
A whole hell of a lot of money: Government bailout.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372568)

You can strap tracking devices to them, you can restrict their movements

Great, how does that help against spammers? They can compute from anywhere.

you can force them to do community service,

Unless you pile on so much community service that they can't do anything else than the punishment is far too lacking. You might as well put them in jail since you'll have to support them anyway in order to pile on enough community service to justify letting them off with only it based on their crime.

you can enforce fines to be taken from their paychecks

What paycheck? They are spammers, they don't work day jobs and they will just do something under the table if you garnish their wages.

You seem to think that people should be locked up for behaving in a certain way - because that behavior is a "gateway" to other crimes? Such a tired argument..

No, you seem to not realize that people need to be punished to deter future crime of this type. None of the things you listed would even slow a spammer down. What you propose is to slap them on the wrist and let them go to do it again.

These people have taken advantage of millions of PCs, they have essentially burglerized millions of homes, not physically but electronically. They have cost hundreds of millions of dollars to others that they can't pay back in their life time. They've made and stuffed away in various places massive amounts of money for themselves that will never go back to who it was stolen from.

And you want to 'fine them' ... great, lets treat spammers like we treat CEOs, brilliant fucking idea.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373264)

And yet another person claiming prison is a deterant. It's NOT. No criminal thinks they are going to get caught. It doesn't deter anything. People still get murdered, people still sell drugs, people still steal cars - even with the MASSIVE sentances given to drug dealers and car thieves.

It. Doesn't. Work.

You are simplifying my argument to hold up yours and that's weak, real weak.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (5, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373606)

"And yet another person claiming prison is a deterant. It's NOT. No criminal thinks they are going to get caught. It doesn't deter anything."

If a criminal is in prison, they are effectively prevented from committing further crimes, except maybe against their fellow convincts. Keeping habitual offenders away from the civilian population is a pretty good deterrant.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31374158)

That's a total straw man. Just because some people still commit crimes when there are punishments doesn't mean that the punishments aren't deterring anyone. For some people, say those who are starving to death, or those who believe they're invincible, no amount of deterrent will keep them from committing crimes. For the average person, however, I would hypothesize that lengthy prison sentences and the stigma of a criminal record are quite effective deterrents.

The only way to definitively settle the debate would be to conduct some experiments or do some sort of meta-analysis on past data regarding crime rates and severity of criminal punishments. Anything else is just armchair filibustering.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373912)

>"Great, how does that help against spammers?"

Most of the sort of people who send spam like to go out after curfew. Take that away and they're going to be miserable.

I think they should tattoo "spammer" on their foreheads too - so people can spit on them in the street.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372802)

There's lots of options for punishing people without dropping them in a prison cell. You can strap tracking devices to them, you can restrict their movements, you can force them to do community service, you can enforce fines to be taken from their paychecks, etc, etc.

And, if the activity is still profitable and possible, they will continue doing it and chalk it up as a cost of doing business.

Seems 15,000 people dying from poison gas is pretty violent to me. No? I mean, people died.

People also die from old age, but I wouldn't call aging 'violent'. 15,000 people died to criminal negligence. (It's the Bhopal disaster, in case you were curious where I came up with that scenario). It wasn't violence, it wasn't force, it wasn't intended... it was sheer greed and stupidity that led to dangerous corners being cut, leading to a major accident. Jail is more than justified.

Yea, so there's the Car thing. I think car thieves suck, but again, it's just property. Locking someone up for decades doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

Nice straw man, there. Show me where a car thief gets 'decades' in prison, and you might have a point. The usual sentence depends on jurisdiction, but even the harsher states it is only 5-10 years, and that's a "5 years, get out in two with good behavior" scenario.

You seem to think that people should be locked up for behaving in a certain way - because that behavior is a "gateway" to other crimes? Such a tired argument..

Nice second straw man... Where did I say that? Please, show me, I'd love to see where I even IMPLIED that. What I said is that there are non-violent crimes which deserve prison time... because the activities are detrimental towards society as a whole, and alternative punishments generally are not disincentive enough to deter somebody. I'm not advocating the death penalty, here, I'm saying that if somebody harms society through their actions, a prison sentence which will deter the activity and not simply be written off as 'cost of doing business', prison is a reasonable punishment. I then proceeded on this premise to list some examples of why I feel this way.

If you want to argue this with straw men, however, I'm sure I can come up with some doozies.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373512)

Nice straw man, there. Show me where a car thief gets 'decades' in prison, and you might have a point. The usual sentence depends on jurisdiction,

When racism is involved.
35 years for a black and white TV. [findarticles.com]

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (0, Offtopic)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372306)

Or people whom, through callous disregard, 15,000 people in Bhopal die from a venting of tonnes of poisonous gas?

AND

None of those are 'violent' crime.

Only for someone with an extremely narrow view of what constitutes violence. I agree with the GP so long as one has a sensibly broad interpretation of 'violence'

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372308)

The summary said Spain reserved prison for 'serious crime cases.' Depending on how Spain defines 'serious crime' your examples could count and still most spammers wouldn't be eligible for jail, which is still a better situation then in the US. There are other ways to punish people, jail doesn't have to be the only one.

It's showing the same sociopathic behavior as my other examples, so why should it be special?

Because get rich quick is not a sociopathic behavior, no matter how you see it, so should be dealt with differently. Following your line of reasoning, every crime no matter how small or large should be treated the same, throw them in jail.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372546)

Don't interpret an internet article for the word of law.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373400)

Because get rich quick is not a sociopathic behavior, no matter how you see it, so should be dealt with differently. Following your line of reasoning, every crime no matter how small or large should be treated the same, throw them in jail.

Hijacking somebody's computer, and using its resources for yourself, however IS sociopathic: You are taking something which does not belong to you, and knowing it is wrong you do it anyway. To hell with the spam, I'm talking purely about the botnet here. There are plenty of 'legal' ways to spam, there are no legal (or moral, or ethical) ways of creating a botnet of zombies. As somebody else in this thread said, "Prison is meant to protect society from the people being imprisoned as well as serving as punishment and deterrent. If there is no need to protect society (or conversely, protect them from revenge/vigilante attacks) then seeking other forms of punishment that are less costly seems to me to be a good idea.", And I agree with that completely. However, what constitutes a 'need to protect society', is what we're differing on.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372098)

Yes, these people should be punished. But I agree with Spain's prison/court system when they say that prison is for violent crime. There's other ways to punish people and have them be productive to society, instead of rotting in prison. Sure, there may be special cases, but for the most part if you're not a physical danger to people then there's no need to keep you separated from the population.

Any effort spent punishing them would be better put towards hardening the targets. If you're interested in the prevention of similar events in the future, that is.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372164)

You are a moron. The purpose of any system of punishment is to set an example for other people who would commit the same crime. If you don't send criminals to prison, you get more criminals. Period. Nobody gives a shit if they might have to pay a fine or do some community service. They'll take that risk. It's because of fucking idiots like you who have pussified our criminal justice system that crime rates continue to increase.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372238)

ya because all those people in prisons in the United States of Prisons are really a deterrent to others? IF that was the case you would not be seeing the overcrowding present in every prison in the US, You would not see them housing prisoners in tents. The system is not working but by your logic if we just keep thrwing more money at it the problem will eventually fix itself. Give your head a shake, unless of course you yourself are one of the few who are profiting from this system?

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372276)

And you're posting as an anonymous coward. So what's that make you?

It's been proven - OVER AND OVER AND OVER - that prison is NOT a deterrant. It's not. "Period."

Because what does every single criminal think when they perform their crimes? "I won't get caught."

If prison and death penalties was an effective deterrant - why are there SO MANY PEOPLE in our prisons, and SO MANY PEOPLE getting murdered every year?

You actually think the criminal justice system has been "pussified"? I guess you haven't gotten in trouble for anything, like, ever. Because they hand out sentences like they were peices of candy in a doctor's office.

You, sir, are the moron - get your head our of your ass and use your god given brain for once.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373336)

If prison and death penalties was an effective deterrant - why are there SO MANY PEOPLE in our prisons, and SO MANY PEOPLE getting murdered every year?

Different AC here. Did you even think for a second before you spewed forth the stupid question above? Prison and the death penalty are quite effective deterrents *for most people*.

There is a subset of the class "people" who will not be deterred by the idea of prison. So we send them there. What would you have us do instead? Do you have any solutions? Or are you simply complaining?

There is a subset of the class "people" who will not be deterred from crime by the death penalty. Folks who get the death penalty generally aren't nice people. They didn't get the death penalty for littering or jaywalking or not cutting their grass. They've typically committed one or more murders, often with exacerbating circumstances such as extreme brutality, torturing or raping the victim, killing a law enforcement officer, etc. If the prospect of death won't deter them from such things I don't really know what will. If death won't deter them at least it will make damn sure they don't do it again.

Do you have any better idea of what to do to deter them?

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372224)

Change that from 'no prison for non-violent criminals' to 'no prison with violent criminals for non-violent criminals' and I think you're on to something. I say lock these guys up for a good stay, even if not in the same prison they keep killers, rapists, and other physically violent criminals in.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372290)

Better yet, how about solitary confinement for EVERY criminal, violent or otherwise. Isolation from all society, especially peers, gives them a good chance to think about what they did.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372386)

Too expensive.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372486)

That's where you're wrong.. It's not done because it's considered inhumane. If we eliminate outdoor time and reduce facilities to food, a bed, and a toilet, it could work. Youo don't even need to have walls between them. Just bars with screens between them and a noise cancelling system would work.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372760)

I do believe the parent was trying to say that the majority of people care not at all how 'inhumane' mandated isolation would be, rather, that they balk at the increase in their taxes that would come along with it.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373100)

Yeah, making everyone who ever commits a crime completely insane through years of isolation is a great goal for our justice system..

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372352)

Prison is meant to protect society from the people being imprisoned as well as serving as punishment and deterrent.

If there is no need to protect society (or conversely, protect them from revenge/vigilante attacks) then seeking other forms of punishment that are less costly seems to me to be a good idea. While someone is in prison not only are they not contributing to society (if only by paying taxes on the things they buy), but society is paying to house and feed them. Why not keep the non-dangerous criminals in the community, and perhaps force them to work off their crimes?

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372584)

I don't think that community service and prison time are mutually exclusive. I'm sure prisons can get cheap but adequate nutrition (some spiced up version of nutraloaf for instance) and keep them in a cell of some sort while during the day they can go out and work on community service projects. Guys like this, maybe they can work on something like township (or Spain's equivalent) websites or something.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (2)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372744)

Sure, give a person who commits the computer crime of serving up illegal schemes to the public over the internet access to state computers used for serving content to the public over the internet. There's a brain storm that's sure to have great results.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373300)

I didn't mean anything critical; I'm talking about Dreamweaver or something. Just sprucing things up, and monitored carefully.

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372420)

The point of a prison really isn't punishment per-say but a way to keep dangerous people away from the public so they don't hurt others. The Death Penalty should be only used if the person would still be a threat while they are still in prison. (which usually isn't the case even for the most horrible criminals).

Now for the United states there is this odd rule about Cruel and Unusual Punishment. However it is kinda odd, but it is often a bad detractor for new innovations in justice. Things like castration of serious sex offenders, Having to pay back people they scammed with 50% APR in installments....

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373234)

There are several points to prison. As well as punishment, there is also rehabilitation of criminals so that they are less likely to repeat their crimes.

In violent societies, there is also the protection of the criminals from self appointed vigilantes. This is done by giving the criminals a sufficiently unpleasant time that morons feel that they don't need to do anything else.The more advanced the society, the less this is needed.

what do you propose? (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372502)

While I'd agree that non-violent crime needs some better for of punishment, the majority seems to think that having someone sit in jail for carrying a bag of pot is acceptable, so should someone that scammed people out of money, clogged inboxes and essentially broke into millions of computers be an even more acceptable jail resident? As long as no one was hurt should people found guilty of breaking and entering, grand theft, larceny and forgery be set free as well? Frankly I think that cybercrimes should be punishable at the same level of their real world equivalent, though perhaps the punishments on both sides should be reevaluated if there is really is a better alternative to jail.

I'm amazed at how often the more savy people on the internet tend to dismiss this kind of thing and blame the victim, in the real world you dont see people going "well he shouldnt have had such a nice car" or "you shouldnt have kept money in your house", or "well its your fault you didnt have better locks" yet online it seems there always seems to be this unexplicable symapthy for the criminal.

Re:what do you propose? (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373314)

I'm not sure how claiming that someone shouldn't go to prison, but pay in other ways, somehow constitutes "blaming the victim."

And again, you say "should be set free?" No. Try being a part of the discussion. I didn't say set them free. I said that I don't believe non-violent offenders need be sent to prison to rot. I think it's a waste of resource, time, and in the end rarely ever works to correct the behavior of a criminal.

Monitoring them on the outide, forcing them to work and pay restitution, join "AA"-style groups, and actually try to get these people to change their ways is a lot more beneficial to society than locking them up for a few years and then letting them out with no support, no money, no place to live..

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373286)

Yes, these people should be punished. But I agree with Spain's prison/court system when they say that prison is for violent crime.

Punishment aside, prison (in this sense) is a method of restricting disruptive peoples' access to society, thus eliminating their ability to disrupt society. These people are certainly disruptive to society. Your argument, therefore, must be that there is a more appropriate method to restrict their access to society besides imprisonment. I agree, in theory, since it is via electronic access, rather than physical access, that they have proven themselves a threat. If you can effectively deny their electronic access to society, then perhaps that is a viable solution. Imprisonment is a nice failsafe, though: in prison, their life is controlled, and thus their electronic access is controlled.

However, don't forget that while their vector is electronic, they have demonstrated themselves to be willing of crossing the mental threshold and engaging in harmful activities. Don't pretend that just because their crime is electronic that the impacts of this crime are any less real. They have stolen identities, causing financial damage to institutions and multifaceted damage to those individuals. Financial damage costs money to recover from. That money could be distributed amongst the populous (via fines, increased service rates, etc.), or burdened upon a few unlucky individuals (potentially ruining their lives), but there is a cost. Their botnet compromised millions of machines (if even one in every thousand crashed because of them, this is still substantial data and time loss), provided platforms for cyber-attacks, and burdened millions with spam messages. At a scale of 13 million machines, I wouldn't be surprised if some lives were lost.

I am assuming here that they're not stupid. They were perfectly aware of all of this. They knew the damage, pain, and mayhem that their actions were causing on a widespread level, and yet they went ahead and performed them. They have demonstrated that they are capable of inflicting significant harm to others for personal gain. While their current vector was electronic, I can understand why society (Spanish and as a whole) might want someone who has demonstrated this will to be removed from it.

amazingly thrifty (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373640)

There's other ways to punish people and have them be productive to society, instead of rotting in prison.

I am amazed at your thrift and foresight. Instead of rotting in prison, they can be productive to society as fertilizer, rotting outside of prison!

Re:And prison SHOULDN'T be used for non-violent cr (1)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373712)

Nope no prison for them, just take them out back of the courthouse and put a bullet in each ones head. Simple, done and over with.

Those people disrupt and financially ruin thousands of peoples lives, fuck em.

Awsome (1)

robinstar1574 (1472559) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371912)

So the Spanish never thought to prosecute cybercrime yet. *waddles over to spain* just kidding

Enter the lawyers? (1)

greatgreygreengreasy (706454) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371916)

If Spain is anywhere near as litigious as the US, I could see them facing a rather large class-action lawsuit from the owners of infected computers. But IANAL, and certainly not a Spanish lawyer.

Re:Enter the lawyers? (1)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372550)

No country is anywhere near as litigious as the US.

Seems... (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371918)

...some extrajudicial punishment is in order.

Maybe being tossed nakkid into the ring with several pissed off bulls.

Force them to spend a month solid working closely (close quarters) with Nancy Pelosi.

Fix it up so that in order to eat and drink, they have to make that browser window that keeps asking, "Are sure you want to leave?", go away by only clicking in the browser window.

Five thousand hours of Steve Ballmer doing the monkey dance.

Suggestions welcome.

Re:Seems... (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372026)

Suggestions? Read that bit again and this time comprehend the meaning behind it:

'It is almost impossible to be sent to prison for these kinds of crimes in Spain, where prison is mainly for serious crime cases'

Running a computer program is not a serious crime in Spain.

Sense of Humor FAIL (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372082)

It's Friday man. You need to relax.

Theft and fraud are not crimes in Spain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371926)

This sounds like another "there ought to be a law" call for adoption of the new cybercrime treaty when there are plenty of laws already on the books that just need to be enforced.

Re:Theft and fraud are not crimes in Spain? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372074)

Building a botnet isn't theft. The owners of the computers involved still have and use that computer. The botnet may be used for theft, but that's unrelated (the user may be another person than the builder).
Building a botnet doesn't need to involve fraud either. It's fraud if they got people to install the stuff by making false claims about it, but it's not fraud if they managed to install it through security holes.

Imagine someone breaking into your house and installing some device. He doesn't steal anything (he even leaves something at the house), and there's definitely no fraud involved. However, the very act of breaking into your house already is forbidden by law.

Now breaking into your computer is something different to breaking into your house, which is why it needs separate laws.

Re:Theft and fraud are not crimes in Spain? (1)

bmk67 (971394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372666)

Building a botnet isn't theft.

I don't know how this works under Spanish law, but in the US...

Building a botnet that is used to commit crimes makes the builder an accessory to said crimes. This isn't (and ought not be) any different than in meatspace.

Beats the RIAA lawsuits (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31371932)

Not going to jail over cybercrime isn't ideal, but I'd take this any day over people being fined millions for downloading a few songs off the Internet. Ridiculous penalties for trivial acts are a lot worse than a few cybercrooks being let go with some large fines instead of jail time.

(Note: downloading music and videos via p2p is legal in Spain)

Re:Beats the RIAA lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372444)

(Note: downloading music and videos via p2p is legal in Spain)

Correction, downloading music/videos via p2p is not illegal in Spain.
Subtle difference.

Re:Beats the RIAA lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372960)

Last I checked, something not illegal is legal.

Re:Beats the RIAA lawsuits (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372594)

Yes, but all we're doing here is redefining what makes a cybercriminal. Thugs using the court system for extorting thousands or millions of dollars from individuals for trivial offences that hurt no-one and deprive no-one of their property are just another facet of a legal system that informs us that crime does indeed pay.

Serious crime? (3, Insightful)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371964)

'It is almost impossible to be sent to prison for these kinds of crimes in Spain, where prison is mainly for serious crime cases,'

Do they grasp the economic impact of these botnets? There may not be any physical violence, but the spam hassels, system cleanup, and DDOS attacks create hundreads of millions of dollars in economic damages. Sure, that's distributed over millions of people, but this sort of macroscopic vandalism is, in fact, a major crime. Throw the book at 'em.

Re:Serious crime? (3, Insightful)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372040)

It's stopped now, isn't it?

So where's the value to society in a long protracted prosecution?

Re:Serious crime? (3, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372534)

"It's stopped now, isn't it?"

Is it, though?

How long will it stay 'stopped' if these guys are let out with a slap on the wrist? You don't think they'll just go right back to 'work'? What about deterrence of other 'would-be' identity thieves?

If someone is offered a 'gamble' with two possible outcomes, one of which is gaining something, and the other of which is just remaining at the same point (that is, no net gain or loss), then it is *irrational* not to participate in the gamble. Now, of course, we have this concept in human society called 'ethics' where we say that you shouldn't do something which hurts someone else, even if it profits you, but these guys have already shown that *they have no ethics*.

Some number of people will always ignore ethical 'rules', and for those people, you must fall back to simple, rational, economics. In this case, economics doesn't translate directly to money, but rather to the idea of incentives/disincentives.

Of course, some of those people will still gamble - even if their is a substantial risk of loss, because with online identity theft, fraud, etc, there is always the possibility of a very large payout, just like with drug dealing - you might wind up in jail, or full of bullets, or you might wind up rich. But, at least there is enough possibility of very negative consequences to put most people off from drug dealing.

Seems to me it's the same with cyber-fraud. Make sure there is the possibility of *very* negative consequences, to make it rational for people to avoid the gamble, even though they do have the possibility of becoming rich.

Plus, there is plain, simple justice - even if there is no deterrent effect, most of us feel that when someone decides to throw ethics by the wayside, and hurt others, there should be some kind of price to pay.

Re:Serious crime? (2, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372866)

Or in the case of a murder: "She's dead now, why prosecute?"

Nice logic.

Gotta admit (5, Funny)

zapakh (1256518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31371988)

I was expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

Re:Gotta admit (1, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372056)

Well there's the problem.

No one's supposed to expect the Spanish Inquisition. That's probably the best Inquisition repellent there is: the focused expectation of Inquisition. You have to drop your guard first.

Re:Gotta admit (1)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373096)

Don't worry - once ACTA is finalized they'll come again.

Marisa?! (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372000)

Every time I see this I think Marisa Bot. Which is totally possible because she was a complete bitch.

Re:Marisa?! (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372178)

Well, it I DID steal the precious [personal identifying information].

Yeah, I couldn't think of a way to make that joke flow properly, so I'm crowdsourcing my humor.

Re:Marisa?! (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373764)

"Well, it I DID steal the precious"

Curse you! We hates you!

Must they be charged with "cybercrime"? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372030)

Aren't things such as fraud serious crimes in Spain? Or could they be extradited?

In Soviet Spain, RIAA is afraid of YOU! (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372086)

Pack your bags, kids, we are moving to Spain!

There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372128)

I am not a lawyer. But my best friend is. And sometimes I ask him questions about the law, how it is applied, and so on. This gives me a better understanding of how it really works, whether I agree with that or not. This should not be a problem that there are no cyber crime specific laws. There should be existing laws that cover crime and one would hope that Spain's laws aren't so weak that those don't apply. Really, are we supposed to believe that Spanish authorities are honestly going to say "Sure, we have laws against stealing, but we didn't write those laws to specifically deal with stealing by computer, so you're out of luck"? That would be like arguing that you are powerless to arrest someone who killed another person by smashing an iPhone against the temple of the other person in a fit of anger because you have no laws that specifically cover killing via smashing with an iPhone. There are certainly negative aspects of Spain, such as their weak stance on illegal immigration, but I'm finding it hard to believe that some existing law on thievery won't do the job here.

Re:There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (4, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372332)

You didn't really undestand the summary. Prison's in Spain are for those who are a physical danger to society. Conning someone out of their money wouldn't land you in jail either, nor would pickpocketing or unnarmed theft. They are non-violent offenders, and there are certainly punishments for those kinds of offenders, it's just that they don't generally involve prison time.

Re:There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (1)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372358)

Logic [wikipedia.org] . Read it. Live it.

Re:There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372366)

I am not a comedian, but my friend is. I sometimes ask him questions about humour. This gives me a better understanding of how humour really works, and I say that's some of the funniest first few words you could possibly dream up in an otherwise wanting-to-be sensible post :-)

Re:There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372426)

During a the civil war and after, lots of people from Spain emigrated to other countries to work and live free. I don't think Spain has such a bad memory as other countries where people tend to forget their origins and ask for stricter immigration laws.

Re:There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (2, Informative)

horza (87255) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372728)

That's a poor analogy. They have laws against fraud. The article says it will take longer to gather evidence and proof of wrong-doing to put them in jail, rather than being able to short-cut and just tie them to a bunch of hacked IP addresses to put them in the slammer. If you bash somebody with an object, it's pretty easy to identify the victim and get prints off the object. The article implies that the digital forensics in this instance is hard work.

Maybe a better analogy is gun or knife control. In the US, carrying a gun or knife (I know each State has difference laws, but in general) is legal. If somebody is murdered, you then have to find the weapon, the perpetrator, and circumstantial evidence or witnesses. In the UK we short-cut this and just assume anybody carrying a gun or knife is guilty, either having committed a crime or is about to, and we put them directly in jail if anybody is found in the streets to be carrying one. A botnet, ignoring abusing somebody else's resources, could in theory be used to try and find a cure for cancer. In practice it will probably be used by spammers. So do you ban the tool or punish the ultimate crime? There is no clear cut answer, it is very much influenced by democratic ideals vs police resources.

I personally disagree with either jail time or simply a fine. Many hours of community services, tidying pavements or painting over graffiti, seems a more appropriate punishment.

Phillip.

Re:There SHOULD be existing laws that cover this (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373496)

A botnet, ignoring abusing somebody else's resources, could in theory be used to try and find a cure for cancer. In practice it will probably be used by spammers.

You could say the same of any organized group of resources, controlled by a small group of people (or a person). Society generally tends to be very wary of this, as they may be used for good (companies,political parties,manufacturing facilities) or evil (rogue militias,gangs,botnets)... in either case, the control mechanism is that there is auditing and transparency for the society (and body that governs that society as a proxy) to feel comfortable that the organized group is not a threat. Otherwise, these groups are generally kept track of, and if need be, broken up forcibly... to do otherwise would be foolish and might endanger the society itself.

Spain needs to recognize (in law) that a botnet not only infringes on the zombie owners' property rights, but also represents a threat to society as there is no transparency involved.

WTF (1)

shemyazaz (1494359) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372152)

Ok, I can understand having muddy rules where the operation of a botnet is concerned, but what I do not understand is how they can get away with launching that DDOS attack. Shouldn't that be like large scale vandalism or something? Hard to imagine them getting away scott free.

Extradition (4, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372176)

Unless all 12 million pcs were in Spain, they should qualify for extradition. Most likely another EU country, but also the US. Heck, Spain could just shop these guys around if they really want to maximize the pain to these guys.

Re:Extradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372962)

By your statement all US spammers should be extradited to Iran or some other country where they could get the death penalty?

Re:Extradition (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373452)

Unless all 12 million pcs were in Spain, they should qualify for extradition. Most likely another EU country, but also the US

Sure, we will sent you then as soon as you send us those CIA kidnappers that ran away from Italy under US protection.

Re:Extradition (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373728)

You do realize Italy and Spain are different countries, right? And that I suggested extradition is possible from Spain to another EU country?

Re:Extradition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373508)

Thanks God our laws don't allow to extradite our own citizens. In Spain the government still protects the people (mostly) over the property and (even more important) from the law of third countries.

CALLING ALL SPAMMERS! CALLING ALL CRACKERS! (0)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372320)

ATTENTION ALL CYBER SCUM

Are YOU being persecuted in your own home country? Do you face large fines and jail time just cause you're trying to make a living at cyber crime?

Well, we have just the solution for you! Spain is your cyber crime haven!

Prison for cyber scum (1)

karlzt (1410199) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372810)

There should be a separated prison for malware authors. If you throw them in jail where violent people are then they will get tortured by other prisoners and I don't think they deserve that.

Not getting it, are we? (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372974)

The problem is that most of the world has a very simple disconnect between "stuff on computers" and "stuff that affects them". These folks did nothing to anyone that isn't using a computer. Therefore, for most of the population of the world there was zero impact. Nothing. No difference.

Now, for a very small minority of people (a few millions out of 6 billion) these people caused trouble. In no way does this justify in the minds of the rest of the population of the world that there should be any laws against what they did.

For example, if you go outside your house and step on some ants I am sure the ants being stepped on would like there to be a law against stepping on ants. The rest of the ant population wasn't affected and neither was the rest of the human population. So there are no laws against stepping on ants, even if to the ants being stepped on it is a huge life-ending tragedy.

So for these guys they affected some computer users in a mysterious place outside of the real world. Good luck with convincing anyone that this is all that important.

In the US you don't get any law enforcement attention until you cause provable damages in excess of $25,000. And if you participate in the "crime" by giving away your password through some trojan program the other person isn't going to be taking all the punishment for stealing from you.

Face it, you live in a different world than most people. They don't understand your world and you don't understand why yours isn't important to them.

Not a menace to society? (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373004)

I don't see why these people don't deserve being locked up. Spammers are responsible for severely damaging the usefulness of email, as well as requiring millions of hours of trying to clean up after them, time that could be used for much more productive tasks. And there's still the huge waste of bandwidth from spam. Spammers from where I'm looking are among the scum of the Internet, along with e.g. the makers of malware and those stealing your credit card numbers.

Re:Not a menace to society? (2, Insightful)

e3m4n (947977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373348)

dont forget the financial cost of bandwidth. As an ISP we have OC-3 connections and we pay 95th percentile based on how much bandwidth we consume each month. I can tell you that email consumes 40% of our total bandwidth and that spam accounts for nearly 80% of all email. This means that if our bandwidth bill for the month is $11,000 then spammers directly cost us 11000 * .4 * .8 = $3520 in damages every month. If I were to cause $3000 in damages to any other facet of your property, your job, or even running up 3k in LD charges from abuse of toll-free services, you would have cause for a lawsuit against me. Why are they not liable for the costs they incur?

privacy (1)

Nyall (646782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373024)

There aren't privacy laws that they can nail them with?

turn them over to the victims (1)

e3m4n (947977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373268)

Thats fine that they dont get jail time, as long as they are turned over to the victims of their crime to do as they see fit. I say tie the bastards to a tree in the wilderness and say 'I hope to hell you have a lot of good friends looking for you, because you can only live 3 days without water'. Then just leave them there to contemplate life, death, the afterlife and/or make peace with their god. It will be a very long 3 - 5 days.

"Cyber-crime legislation"? (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373656)

"insufficient cyber-crime legislation" -- Money was obviously stoled from people's bank accounts, shouldn't that be sufficient to prosecute the thiefs?
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