PayPal attackers in the U.S. are so worried about what is going to happen to them now that their U.K. counterparts were sentenced on Thursday that their defense attorneys are meeting with federal prosecutors next week.
The hactivists in the U.K. received sentences ranging from six months to three times that, and there remains one hacker still to be sentenced, 18-year-old Jake Birchall. One difference between the two groups is the fact that the British computer geeks pled guilty to their crimes and the U.S. defendants are doing just the opposite, claiming they're not guilty at all. That can't bode well for them from the onset, as good detective work has already proven there was enough evidence to arrest them. So do they really want to play that game?
The U.S. PayPal attackers, referred to as the "PayPal 14" according to SCMagazine.com, are made up of 20-somethings who live in one of nine states, as well as the District of Columbia. They have no prior criminal records, so there is always the "first offender" consideration, but it would help their case if they didn't stick to the "not guilty" mantra they've got going.
It also doesn't help that New York attorney Stanley Cohen, who is representing 21-year-old Mercedes Haefer on a pro bono basis, is trying to play the sympathy card for his client using the "no harm, no foul" routine. He says that none of those accused in the U.S. sought to profit from their actions against the online money company, and that there was no real loss. Who's he kidding?
PayPal says there was a financial loss of $5.2 million, which included what it costs them to try and create software programs to hinder future attacks of this nature. And of course there is the downtime and frustration of all its clients affected, like the average person, for example. So Cohen needs to come up with a better defense than that or these boys might get 15 years, the harshest sentence possible.
The PayPal hackers in the U.K. played it smart, admitting to guilt in the purported Anonymous group scheme. And they will only serve a half a year to a year and a half for it. Will the U.S. hacking "kids" wise up and do the same thing as those hactivists being sentenced in the U.K.? And will they do it before next week's meeting between their attorneys and the feds? Hopefully so.
PayPal logo photo credit: Public Domain per Wikimedia.org