New Zealand Reserve Bank phone hacker not convicted

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gerasimos Macridis, 39-years-old, left the court room discharged without conviction after hacking into the New Zealand Reserve Bank's phone system and then asking for money for his services after pointing out these security flaws to both the Reserve Bank and Telecom New Zealand in May, 2006, and offering to fix them. He had identified himself as a security consultant.

The New Zealand Police then raided his home and took his computer on 21 September. Macridis told police that he did not think it was illegal, but knew he was not authorised to access the phone systems. Telecom then took him to court.

Colin McGilicray, police prosecutor, said: "Macridis has a significant number of previous fraud convictions and it appeared he was trying to obtain money through virtue of his technical knowledge."

Macridis, who represented himself, told the court that for 11-years he had worked as a casual security consultant and he had worked for Telecom, police and Department of Internal Affairs.

Macridis thought himself as an honest, law abiding citizen as his 1994 conviction had 'turned his life around'.

Judge Ian Mill said this case was very unusual and also noted that Macridis ended his offending over 10-years ago.

Mill said: "Macridis used his talents to identify security risks and he had identified a grave risk to the Reserve Bank and its customers. Macridis provided a report of his findings, requested payment albeit without a contract and for his troubles was prosecuted. He did not pass the information on to others and did not use it for personal gain."

"In my view his intentions were honourable," Mill added.

Mill discharged him without conviction on the basis that a conviction would be out of proportion with his actions.

Sources

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