The 18-year-old hacker was arrested in November 2007 and immediately accused of taking part in an action to infect 1.3 million computers with adware and information stealing malware.

Walker managed to escape jail time as the police told the court it would be better to use the defendant’ skills in the fight against cybercrime:

"It wouldn’t be the first time that a hacker has helped the police catch other internet criminals. For instance, David L Smith, the author of the Melissa virus, assisted the authorities in capturing the creator of the Anna Kournikova worm and Welsh virus writer Simon Vallor," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Clearly, as Owen was working with an organized criminal gang he may have information that could lead to successful convictions in the future."

However, the hacker was ordered to pay fines of more than $11,000. The largest part of the sum ($7000) is to go to the University of Pennsylvania and be used to cover the damages made to its computer network. It’s quite ironic, given that Walker is rumored to have received around $30,000 for his hacking activities related to the case.