July 8, 2015

In a win for Internet trolls and teenage cybercriminals everywhere, a Finnish court has decided not to incarcerate a 17-year-old found guilty of more than 50,000 cybercrimes, including data breaches, payment fraud, operating a huge botnet and calling in bomb threats, among other violations.

Julius "Ryan" Kivimaki.

Julius “Ryan” Kivimaki.

As the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reports, Julius Kivimäki — a.k.a. “Ryan” and “Zeekill” — was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to forfeit EUR 6,558.

Kivimaki vaulted into the media spotlight late last year when he claimed affiliation with the Lizard Squad, a group of young hooligans who knocked offline the gaming networks of Microsoft and Sony for most of Christmas Day.

According to the BBC, evidence presented at Kivimaki’s trial showed that he compromised more than 50,000 computer servers by exploiting vulnerabilities in Adobe’s Cold Fusion web application software. Prosecutors also said Kivimaki used stolen credit cards to buy luxury goods and shop vouchers, and participated in a money laundering scheme that he used to fund a trip to Mexico.

Kivimaki allegedly also was involved in calling in multiple fake bomb threats and “swatting” incident — reporting fake hostage situations at an address to prompt a heavily armed police response to that location. DailyDot quotes Blair Strater, a victim of Kivimaki’s swatting and harassment, who expressed disgust at the Finnish ruling.

Speaking with KrebsOnSecurity, Strater called Kivimaki “a dangerous sociopath” who belongs behind bars.

Although it did not factor into his trial, sources close to the Lizard Squad investigation say Kivimaki also was responsible for making an August 2014 bomb threat against former Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley that grounded an American Airlines plane. That incident was widely reported to have started with a tweet from the Lizard Squad, but Smedley and others say it started with a call from Kivimaki.

In a phone interview, Smedley said he was disappointed that the judicial system in Finland didn’t do more.

“I personally got to listen to a recording of him calling in to American Airlines, and I know it was him because I talked to him myself,” Smedley said. “He’s done all kinds of bad stuff to me, including putting all of my information out on the Internet. He even attempted to use my credit numerous times. The harassment literally just did not stop.”

In an online interview with KrebsOnSecurity, Kivimaki denied involvement with the American Airlines incident, and said he was not surprised by the leniency shown by the court in his trial.

“During the trial it became apparent that nobody suffered significant (if any) damages because of the alleged hacks,” he said.

The danger in a decision such as this is that it emboldens young malicious hackers by reinforcing the already popular notion that there are no consequences for cybercrimes committed by individuals under the age of 18.

Case in point: Kivimaki is now crowing about the sentence; He’s changed the description on his Twitter profile to “Untouchable hacker god.” The Twitter account for the Lizard Squad tweeted the news of Kivimaki’s non-sentencing triumphantly: “All the people that said we would rot in prison don’t want to comprehend what we’ve been saying since the beginning, we have free passes.”

It is clear that the Finnish legal system, like that of the United States, simply does not know what to do with minors who are guilty of severe cybercrimes.  The FBI has for several years now been investigating several of Kivimaki’s contemporaries, young men under the age of 18 who are responsible for a similarly long list of cybercrimes — including credit card fraud, massively compromising a long list of Web sites and organizations running Cold Fusion software, as well as swatting my home in March 2013. Sadly, to this day those individuals also remain free and relatively untouched by the federal system.

Lance James, former head of cyber intelligence for Deloitte and a security researcher who’s followed the case closely, said he was disappointed at the court’s decision given the gravity and extensiveness of the crimes.

“We’re talking about the Internet equivalent of violent crimes and assault,” James said. “This is serious stuff.”

Kivimaki said he doesn’t agree with the characterization of swatting as a violent crime.

“I don’t see how a reasonable person could possibly compare cybercrime with violent crimes,” he said. “There’s a pretty clear distinction here. As far as I’m aware nobody has ever died in such an incident. Nor have I heard of anyone suffering bodily injury.”

As serious as Kivimaki’s crimes may be, kids like him need to be monitored, mentored, and molded — not jailed, says James.

“Studying his past, he’s extremely smart, but he’s troubled, and definitely needs a better direction,” James said. “A lot of these kids have trouble in the home, such as sibling or parental abuse and abandonment. These teenagers, they aren’t evil, they are troubled. There needs to be a diversion program — the same way they treat at-risk teenagers and divert them away from gang activity — that is designed to help them get on a better path.”

But Kivimaki may not get that chance. According to Smedley, there are more than a dozen criminal cases pending against the Finnish youth.

“Now that he’s a convicted felon, he can’t claim first time status anymore,” Smedley said. “There’s no question he’s going to get his.”

Update, 3:30 p.m. ET: Added comments from Smedley.

146 thoughts on “Finnish Decision is Win for Internet Trolls

  1. BVR

    “I don’t see how a reasonable person could possibly compare cybercrime with violent crimes,” he said. “There’s a pretty clear distinction here. As far as I’m aware nobody has ever died in such an incident. Nor have I heard of anyone suffering bodily injury.”

    Swatting comes very close to attempted bodily harm at best. Murder by proxy at worst. Yes, there is a comparison. US LEOs are not known for their soft approach to entering a building.

    1. asdd

      Kivimaki is incapable of accepting responsibility for his actions. That’s one symptom of his mental illness and this is why he thinks it’s okay to harass and hurt people for fun. He will always blame the victim. It does not mean that his argument is logical.

      Swatting causes property damage and bodily harm, and the death of dogs, and is much like assault with a deadly weapon. And double that if the victim points a gun at the cops.

      1. CooloutAC

        Most Internet nerds always blame the victim….

      2. Tom

        I’m sorry to have to say this, but SWAT teams in the US have shot many many people who weren’t holding a gun. Some of them were lying in bed. One was an infant in a crib. The simple fact is they are trained to shoot to kill for things as simple as “non-compliance” (like a deaf person not putting their hands up when told to.

        I could go on and on for hundreds of pages about incidents where SWAT teams murdered people without justification. “Swatting” someone could all too easily end up resulting in the deaths of one or more people. Kivimaki deserves to rot in jail for a long time, juvenile or not.

    2. Anty-Anonimos

      Psychological harrasment shouldn’t be taken lightly.

      These “troubled” teens are only a reflection of the Fu*k’d-up-ness of our society, where the Death Penelty and Torture are allowed.

    3. Susan Basko, Esq

      I have several legal clients that have been swatted. Swatting is terribly dangerous, to where it should be considered attempted murder. Ask anyone to whom it has happened.

  2. Peter

    Of course there is a moment when he turns 18. And by then he won’t know how to stop. I doubt he realizes he got off so easy just because he was a minor.

    But when (not if) he gets caught again, he’ll be trialed as an adult. And then at least in the US potential penalties go up exponential and even if not, having a record, will haunt you for the rest of your life. And yes, Finland does extradite to the US …

    1. Blair Strater

      From what I’ve been told, while there is an extradition treaty between the United States and Finland (signed by Jimmy Carter), Mr. Kivimaki is planning to claim some sort of immunity from extradition under Finnish law.

      Supposedly, as a Finnish citizen, he can refuse extradition. Simple as that. I don’t know if there’s any truth to this or if it has any requirements or caveats, but it seems a little nonsensical to have an extradition treaty that a targeted individual can just send away with the flick of a wrist.

      1. Janne

        There is a treaty, and as with any other extradition treaty, there are certain requirements and limitations for extradition. There is, of course, no article that would simply enable the person to say nah, don’t wanna go and that would be the end of it.

          1. Janne

            It does not automatically prevent the extradition, nor does it even seem to form a basis to deny the request. If the extradition request is made before he has turned 18, the Finnish authorities may, according to Article 8 of the treaty, “suggest that the request for extradition be withdrawn”, should they see that the extradition would hinder the rehabilitation of the person.

            1. answer person

              A sovereign nation can also choose to handle any prosecution itself. And that is what Finland did. Finland prosecuted Julius Kivimaki/ Zeekill/ Ryan and gave him a suspended sentence and 2 years of probation. If this is similar to the U.S., this means if he screws up within those 2 years, he can be imprisoned for the remainder of the two years.

              From wording of the judge and from the sentence, it sounds like Kivimaki probably cut a “talk and walk” deal. If so, I’d venture to guess he talked about Doxbin, Lizard Squad, Rustle League, swatting, and other things.

              1. Janne

                That’s true, but at least from what’s been told in the Finnish press, the sentence he now got only deals with some crimes (hacking into certain systems and credit card fraud), but not all he’s suspected of. I don’t think the swatting incidents (much discussed in the post and the comments), for example, were included.

  3. Blair Strater

    The Finnish justice system appears to be the polar opposite of the American system. Finland is proud to focus on rehabilitation, and appears to use incarceration as a last resort for people who have demonstrated that they simply cannot be rehabilitated.

    You can see this philosophy in the sentencing, 2 years in prison (a last resort in this country) hanging over his head should he mess up again, as well as an order to, depending on whose translation you read, either “fight against cybercrime” or “speak out again cybercrime”. This is a judge’s attempt to “repair” Mr. Kivimaki. I’ve read quite a few people share this viewpoint, that he should be rehabilitated and make a career out of what he’s done.

    But here’s the problem: Mr. Kivimaki meets all 7 of the DSM-IV criteria for sociopathy, and only three are needed for a diagnosis. A sociopath cannot be repaired, he will never feel empathy for others and for as long as he shall live, will continue to pull stunts like those he’s been pulling for the past 3 years. Not to mention, he’s also the dictionary definition of a script kiddie. Mr. Kivimaki couldn’t hack his way out of a paper bag, he just recycles scripts somebody else wrote. Two clicks and you’re a “hacker”.

    Let’s also talk about violent crime. Swatting is absolutely a violent crime. Obviously, you are putting the target at risk of being injured or even killed by police. I’ve seen a few people claim that people who get swatted “deserve it”, and thus “deserve” to have their lives put in jeopardy, usually over something as insignificant as beating the “swatter” at a video game. That’s okay, because there’s another less obvious aspect: You’re also putting police lives in danger. Homeowners being served with no-knock warrants have countless times shot and killed police officers and been acquitted of all charges, because they had no reason to expect police at their place (they’ve done nothing wrong) and interpreted the police entry as an armed burglar, and acted appropriately, with judicious marksmanship.

    So even if swatting targets “deserve it”, do the police “deserve it”, too?

    Given that Mr. Kivimaki’s year of birth is 1997, it’s mathematically impossible for him to enter the year 2016 as a minor. He’s running out of time to have fun at our expense. Just like with the other members of HTP, I’m sure Mr. Kivimaki has every plan to go silent on the day of his 18th birthday. And that’s the problem.

    We live in a brave new world where somebody as young as 13 can run double-click their mouse on a script they grabbed off of HackForums and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to an arbitrary target, from the comfort and safety of their bedroom. And these individuals, Mr. Kivimaki included, go into this with the complete knowledge that what they are doing is wrong and unlawful, and that none of that matters because they’re untouchable as long as they are under 18. They plan to have 5 years of good fun, thumbing their nose at the system, and coming out the other side unscathed.

    Repeated acts such as this, especially when essentially government sanctioned via lack of punishment, needs to start being seen as an act of war. If Finnish law enforcement won’t step up, the U.S. Military needs to. You won’t send the kid over? That’s okay, we’ll come get him. Semper Fi, Julius.

    1. Keith Hill

      Blair, you make a good argument but aren’t you leaping to a conclusion that this example will somehow incite similar behavior? If he is, as you believe him to be, a sociopath, Kivimaki will likely end up incarcerated after he is unable to live within the conditions of his probation because he won’t outgrow being a rebellious teenager. But perhaps not. Only time will tell.
      This case may force Finland and other countries that have a more progressive perspective on criminal behavior to really work on a finding a solution other than your preferred approach of imprisonment. Repayment to victims or to a victim’s fund, public embarrassment, and a demonstration of what prison life is like, might be far more effective and less costly than actual imprisonment.

    2. Dunton

      what an idiotic idea to claim that swatting is a dangerous crime, how can it be? It’s the police running in, not some burglars!!! It’s the law itself knocking in your door. Claiming that it’s dangerous for health and life means that your police is dangerous for life and health of an innocent person? What kind of country are you all living in? Run from there. And blame your government and not swatting kids really!!!
      And than wait for totally nuts guys like Blair to show up with army in Finland. See the fact is – crazy dog has to be shot dead anyways as we say. With this approach like Blairs sooner or later it’s going to happen to America. Unless you guys finally get your heads back to sanity instead of hunting after underage kids who done nothing bad.

      1. JCitizen

        It is that hand slap attitude that is leading many kids to run to Syria to join ISIS, and rape and pillage and chop people’s heads off. I have no compunction for punishing these evil satan’s babies and I have no patience for molly coddlers!

      2. Mike

        It may be “the law” running in, but when you don’t expect anyone to run in because you aren’t engaging in illegal activity, it’s easy to hesitate or be confused by the sudden entry of a no-knock warrant. These guys are ready for violence and ANY HESITATION can be easily misread as “resistance.” People do freeze up when surprised. This can result in getting knocked down unexpectedly. Add if you already have an injury or physical issue that then gets worsened by the arrest (manhandling) and that’s another factor. The fact that it’s “the law” at the door doesn’t change the surprise issue and problems that can come from it, all as a “prank.”

        1. Dunton

          ok I’ll repeat again, how can one say that swatting is a severe crime and blame swatters for it, when it’s the police rushing and breaking in an innocent person’s house?!? Blame the police if something happens and the government. Logically an innocent person can have no reason to be hurt by the arm of the law if he is innocent. And in fact , as you are aware if you think about it, this is so in most countries of the world. The more you blame swatters the more you justify improper police action in fact. Imagine you are right and swatting indeed becomes a severe crime, in that case, except that it’s a very sad future for complete idiots, police will have even less to care about and next thing happens the swatting will indeed become a way to possibly kill people because police will simply shoot down everyone on every swatting incident, why should they not, they are not to blame for it, blame swatters. And that’s exactly path you are choosing by having bad feelings that an underage kid won’t go to prison.

          That above is exactly the reason why I say that a crazy dog has to be shot dead. You guys do whatever you want in your own country, if you are happy living in a so crazy police state where you justify police hurting innocent people just because someone else made a false call and blame totally the caller, but please don’t you dare bringing your madness anywhere else outside of your country or they will shoot you dead just as it was done to every other crazy dogs like Nazis.

          1. ma

            I have a difficult time believing that Dunton is serious or sincere. American police have to deal with armed individuals. A person breaking into many American’s house will be resisted violently. Especially if they protect themselves by pro-actively killing the family pet when it does it’s job and comes at the intruder.

            I love the freedoms that I have living here. I mourn the freedoms that we have lost because many people are afraid to be free.

            Swatting is a violent crime against person and property and should be prosecuted as such.

          2. Answer Machine

            People say, “Don’t feed the troll.” I am going to answer your question, only because I assume you are Julius Kivimaki or someone else that swats. Or you are someone considering swatting. Or you are young, inexperienced, and just don’t get it. So instead of assuming you do get it, or you should get it, I am going to explain it to you.

            This applies to the USA only. The USA police response is different than in other nations. In the USA, many people own guns, even automatic rifles. So when the police respond, they assume the people are going to be armed.

            When a person “swats” someone, they call or message the police to bring out an emergency response. That is why it is called swatting, it is named after a SWAT team – Special Weapons and Tactics. That means, the police show up ready to do battle.

            I have heard recordings of 4 full swat calls. In each, the caller says he is in a house holding people hostage and about to kill them. Sometimes, the caller has friends that play other parts, pretending to be the hostages, yelping and moaning, etc.

            The swatter gives the address he is swatting and gives the real name of the person who lives there. He also usually searched out real details about the person and their family, so he can sound as if he is actually the person in the house. Meanwhile, the person in the house has NO CLUE any of this is happening. Often, though, swatters watch on Twitter or other social media to see if the person is actively posting, and will only swat then. That is because they want a swat to take place when the person being swatted is at home and will feel the full force of the swatting. If no one is home, the swatting is not successful.

            This is a very important point, because swatting victims are generally not known to the swatter, but rather chosen as feasible targets off the internet.

            Other swat calls have been done by TTY (pretending to be a deaf person so their voice would not be revealed) and also by email or list serve. ALL of these methods have resulted in full response by police, Secret Service. Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, and others.

            When the police arrive, they come with guns drawn. They force or trick the people to come out of the house, hands up. Often they make them do something difficult like walk backwards down a staircase with their hands raised. Often the people are thrown to the ground, handcuffed, etc., Some have been held for hours. Children have been held at gunpoint. Homes have been searched.

            At any time during this process, but particularly the first few minutes, if the person or people flinch in any way, they are likely to be shot. That is a real factor. Likewise, if there are any threatening pets, those are likely to be shot.

            On the flip side, if the people being swatted were afraid they were being invaded by robbers, if they have a gun in the home, they might shoot the police.

            In addition to being incredibly dangerous, and terribly traumatizing, swatting is expensive. Police departments have said that each swatting costs them $100,000.

            So there, I hope you now understand why swatting is dangerous. I hope you will stop doing it or that you won’t do it. Or at the very least, I hope you will understand and not write comments minimizing the danger of swatting. MOST OF ALL, I hope you will blame those who swat, and not keep trying to blame the police or blame society. It is the swatter who is swatting and causing the problem.

            1. Dunton

              Look, you really miss the point which is simple. What’s the difference if you have guns in America or not? What’s the difference how swatter is doing the trick? The point is – if you are innocent you must not be hurt by police no matter what ever else happened and how, anything else is the fault of police or laws governing police, as simple as that really. And beleive it or not , that’s how it works anywhere else in the proper world, wake up, it’s time to.

              Know what, take it to another level. What if people call police and say Krebs is a dangerous armed killer and he hates police, shoot him straight away upon notice! And if he gets shot don’t blame the policeman who did it really, put another 17 year old kid in prison and vote for a special law that makes it serious criminal offense misleading police about Krebs.
              Do you get my point now? Or indeed you guys here are a bit insane?

              1. BrianKrebs Post author

                FWIW, I’ve been advocating for a federal law on swatting to make it a felony offense. Granted, this will have limited impact on people who engage in swatting from overseas (particularly in countries that don’t have extradition treaties), unless and until those individuals go traveling abroad.

                1. stine

                  Swatting is only a problem because of the INSECURE phone systems (or their underlying technology) that are currently deployed.

                  I can’t tell you how many spam calls I’ve received that show only a 5-digit number.

                  Also, before we start telling other countries how their laws should read, we should be ready for them to tell us how our laws should read.

                  1. answer person

                    Swatting is a problem for many more reasons than insecure phone systems. Swatters spoof numbers so they appear to be coming from the house.

                    Also, today, many people use cell phones, rather than a house phone. Any cell phone number could be calling from within any house.

                    In addition, swatters have used TTY, emails, and list serves to contact the police and announce a fake emergency, fake bomb threat, etc.

                2. Dunton

                  Not surprised! Is the law just about swatting, or precisely about swatting Krebs?

                3. answer person

                  Unless I am mistaken, swatting already is a felony, but under laws that say it is illegal to make false emergency calls. Several serial swatters have gotten long prison sentences.

                  I think in the comments being posted by Dunton, we are seeing the mentality that goes into swatting. Dunton is saying the swatter should be able to trick the police in any manner, and if anyone gets hurt, it will be the fault of the police. This is false reasoning and dangerous excuse-making.

                  1. BrianKrebs Post author

                    I believe you are mistaken. I’m not aware of a federal law against swatting, and in most states it is the equivalent of filing a false police report, which is a misdemeanor.

                    1. answer babe

                      To Brian: Then you are right, there should be a federal law. And I say this as a person who has been swatted using several techniques. Those of us active online catch the attention of trolls and swatters.

                      One of the methods in which I was swatted endangered literally hundreds of thousands of people. I do not want to describe the situation here, for fear of giving how-to instructions to an audience that obviously includes at least one pro-swatting person. That incident had to cost at least a $million.

                      People who swat seem to be conscienceless and also seem to keep repeating the act until they are caught and kept out of circulation.

                  2. Dunton

                    Let me make one thing clear though, as I am no troll like idiots suggesting army invasion of Finland. Let me make it clear – I am not saying that swatting is not a crime, it sure is, a false alarm to authorities one way or another in any legal system is an offense. Actually pointing a finger and claiming to police that someone is a criminal when it’s known to be false is a criminal offense itself, not a severe though. Lying to police is a crime or alike normally everywhere as well.

                    What I am saying that if someone gets hurt because of that – now that is a problem of police, because police not matter what can not be allowed to hurt innocent people and because of that its their responsibility.

                    So if swatting became so dangerous in America, cause you guys have arms and Krebs, it’s either a time to disarm or alternatively leave the country, but it’s completely idiotic blaming swatters for how your police operates. Hope now it’s clear.

                    1. Atilla the Hun

                      At the rick of responding to a Troll (who is also handicapped by not having a functional brain) what Dunston is saying is that if I drop an anvil out of a window, and Dunston just happens to walk out under it, the blame for that goes to gravity, or the anvil, or anyone other than me. Of course, people who have functional brains recognize that the primary cause of the incident of Dunston getting hit on the head with an anvil was my dropping it out of a window. Without that primary cause, no one would have suffered any harm and no blame would be necessary.

                      So Dunston, my little idiot, when the swatter sets off a chain of events the blame for that lies with him, not the police, not the guns, not Brian Krebs, and not even a lackadaisical Finnish judicial system.

                    2. Dunton

                      To Atilla:
                      You are dumb are you? Because your example with fallen anvil actually is a very good one, because it precisely fits into how your police operates in your country and it obviously is the real reason behind the problem, it indeed falls as an anvil from the window with only physics laws behind it, unlike most places in the world and that is exactly why I suggest for anyone sane choose another place to leave, after all as I mentioned crazy dog eventually gets shot and that’s exactly what is going to happen, not that I am happy about it, but as soon as there are just Atillas and Krebs left in what used to one of the best places in the world, history teach us that crazy dog will be shot.

                1. markD

                  Filing a false report and inducing authorities with power and putative reason to react or over-react prematurely, while wasting expensive resources and maybe not being available for real crimes, much less demonstrating how police etc. can be diverted (perhaps as a diversion to create opportunity to commit crimes some place else while they are engaged elsewhere) is not a crime?

                  Perhaps it should be, along with level attached to the consequences, like intent following the car (making resultant death voluntary manslaughter) or the bullet.

                  Suppose someone, for example, calls a false fire alarm at one end of town and then sets a fire on the other end? Same idea. Now suppose both were done to cover a robbery or assault, kidnapping, burglary, arson, some other anti-social act, intentionally creating a distraction to aid the criminal in succeeding in the crime and getting away because the protective resources had been distracted or made unavailable.

                  Making a false report of a person needing a rescue squad costs the fire department in my town over a thousand dollars each time out. If done falsely, it’s a crime and the faker required to pay the costs plus penalties. For a reason, it is abusing the system and using the process as a weapon of intimidation and damage, much less creating havoc and possibly causing collateral damage from not being available to some other real need; to the extent it can be anticipated, being able to do so can become part of a plan of a crime. It all fits as either crime or domestic terrorism. That local and federal laws may not have caught up is a sad technicality that should be fixed, and guys like this might even help move it along, so long as we have Krebs types to get it initially publicized. It ain’t harmless.

              2. James

                It doesn’t matter Dunton.

                People have the right and freedom to be safe and secure in their own home, swatting people takes away that freedom and liberty by misleading the police into thinking there is a crime taking place.

                It costs money, it costs liberties, and on occasion it costs lives.

                Is the swatter going to pay for the door they kicked in? The carpet that was burned from the flashbang? Is he going to pay for the dog the police shot? Or the windows blown out?

                1. Dunton

                  Told you. Either don’t whine or leave the country really. Go to places where swatting does not happen this way, which is pretty much everywhere else in the world, will save you at the very least doors and carpets.

                  1. Posie Pickens

                    Have you been swatting people all over the world, or just in the US?

          3. Karl S.

            Let me try to explain to you why swatting is so incredibly dangerous. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you swatted me. If I survived the encounter with the police, it would be my personal life’s mission to use every means at my disposal to track you down wherever you may be and dispose of you in a most heinous fashion. You’d be a mutilated corpse and I’d likely be facing murder charges. Does that answer your question?

    3. Mike

      Great post. Thanks for writing it.

      If you want to expound on the 7 symptoms and how he expresses them, please write again.

      His claim of “untouchable” hacker god does not comport with reality in a second way. First, you pointed out that he’s more of a script kiddie. The second way is that “untouchable” doesn’t match these facts: he was convicted, the 2-year sentence is hanging over him should he screw up again, and he had to pay the fine portion of the sentence. Being found guilty, and then fined, is not “untouchable.”

    4. Dennis Chavante

      Calm down there Blair! No need to veer off the road over this kid.

      Even though I think almost all of your conclusions could be taken down a notch or two, let’s start by taking the label of sociopath off of this kid. I think anyone who is actually qualified to make such a diagnosis will tell you that you can’t accurately do so from the contents of news articles and a checklist you can find on Wikipedia.

      Whatever this kid may be, let’s not jump the gun (back in the holster Barn!) by concluding that he cannot and will not ever change.

      1. CooloutAC

        The fact these kids are bragging about this veridict is pretty disturbing. And yes they do seem to lack any empathy or connection to any real consequences. But then again, thats how most malicious hackers are, totoally pathological and delusional. But to do things just for sheer terror and mayhem, with no other goal, really is sociopathic as well.


        1. markD

          You don’t want to fail to take a psychopath seriously. It may be the last thing you do, preceded by some incredibly horrible things happening to anyone you care about.

    5. Neal Rauhauser

      Kivimaki has been an international menace for at least the last three years. I have a screen shot of him using @QXL, claiming the 2/2/2013 swatting of Robert ‘xnite’ Whitney. This was reputedly due to a dispute over who was going to get credit for the Moinmelt tool.

      As I recall, there was a swing and miss at an address in Bloomington, Indiana, a swing and hit at Whitney’s actual residence in Bloomington, Illinois, and then they managed to set Whitney up as the subject of an Amber Alert in Michigan.

      While Kivimaki’s sentence in Finland is disappointing, things are just as bad here in the U.S. Prosecutors go wild piling on charges when they do catch one of these kids – like Fidel Salinas, who was facing 440 years for what seemed to me like it should have been a year of probation. They justify the huge numbers as a deterrent, but there isn’t much that will deter males 15 – 25.

      We are at a point where, as a society, we’re about to do something about problems like this. GamerGate is the catalyst for it, but I can’t figure out what they’re going to do. There are a lot of little human rights/feminism/save the child type orgs who are trying to lay claim to the problem, but they get a glimpse of the objective reality of dealing with people like Kivimaki, and they faint from fright.

      I expect what will happen is that the urge to put a stop to the out of control behavior that has evolved in the image board culture will get twisted in some way – if the FBI could make an argument that started with trolls and ended up with encryption key escrow, they’d have Comey on the Sunday talkies circuit starting this weekend.

      The people who squeal the loudest about free speech, while contributing the least to the ‘market of ideas’ the framers of our Constitution envisioned when the Bill of Rights was created, are the ones who are going to screw it up for the rest of us.

      1. Soy Tenley

        “The people who squeal the loudest about free speech” haven’t yet had the opportunity to have to clean up the messes made by the criminals who prey on others.

        1. CooloutAC

          What does criminals preying on others have to do with free speech?

  4. Sweet Marley's Daytona Beach Fla

    If Kivimäki was convicted in the United States he would have received a life sentence without any chance of parole

  5. markD

    What can you say about a people that make candy out of pine tar?

  6. Bobbo 92629

    Boycott Finnish products to protest this court decision.

    1. DaveN

      Boycott? That seems a little extreme. Personally, while I’m not sure I agree with this decision, I’m pretty sure I don’t care enough to do anything more than write this. And what Finnish products do you plan to boycott, anyway? Cod?

        1. Aghast

          Yeah, let’s all stop buying Nokia phones!

          Oooh, too late!

          1. twinmustangranchdressing

            Microsoft Mobile, which produces Lumia phones, is headquartered in Finland. (Granted, not many Lumia phones are sold; witness the recent announcement of layoffs.) Nokia is gradually reentering the consumer market.

            Maybe the U.S. should let Putin know that we won’t lift a finger if he decides to invade Finland. /kidding

            1. Chip Douglas

              I’m sure the big O has already thought of that, he’s such a stud.

  7. itsmeitsmeitsddp

    Words cannot describe how far behind many legal systems are relating to technology and the internet. This punk should be strung up as an example to any other wanna be “hackers”.

  8. Nicole

    I wonder if his attitude would be any different if his swatting activities resulted in emergency responders no being available quickly enough to respond to a real and serious incident – which could very likely cause bodily harm or death.
    This boy clearly has a lot of growing up to do. Hopefully by avoiding jail time he’ll have a fighting chance at becoming a productive member of society one day.

  9. Punisher

    Now that he’s not anonymous and an easy target. Some of his victims are likely to arrange punishment.

    1. Leo

      My point exactly… This ought to be a fun year

  10. Leo

    Well since he is about to be 18, and we have all his information… How can he fight back if someone were to attack him? Sounds like he is about to have a lot of fun if someone who decides they dislike him wants an easy target or a chance to say the attacked a self proclaiimed “untouchable hacker god” .As for the judge that set this ruling: swat him / her multiple times and steal their money THEN and only then we will see if ther viewpoint changes. On the time / resources wasted… And damage done.

    1. Rx

      You try swatting anyone in Finland, much less a judge.

      1. markD

        What would stop a similarly skilled person to arrange the same thing to happen, say as you mentioned, a swatting of a high public official purporting, and even with an evidence trail concocted, to point to the kid? Under the idea of “see how you like it?” If there is not procedural justice, that is the time when people might fill in the gap with poetic justice. The social maturity of an adolescent trails cognitive capability by about 10-15 years. It’s the same as giving a child a gun. Ever hear of a little book called “Lord of the Flies?”

  11. akhiok

    If he was a hacker kid just trying to learn and not really thinking through the consequences, then I might give him a pass as long as he paid for “all” the damages he caused — whether through work programs and such. ( A hacker has some good skills that pay well in the real world. )

    However, someone who seems to be a complete narcissist and probably a sociopath is dangerous. Swatting, stealing, and fraud are not simple mistakes of not thinking through the consequences. These crimes show a rather warped sense of morals. This kid needs to be put away into a mental institution. Whether he can be saved is another question. If he can’t be saved, then use his skills from behind bars ( so he can pay for his upkeep, or just put him to death ( why waste taxpayer money. )

    1. Chip Douglas

      Except the part about being a hacker, everything you describe is applicable to obama. If we do the kid I say we burn him too!

  12. Kyuu Eturautti

    Okay, I’m reading quite a lot of revenge mood in the article and comments. As a CISO, I do have rather absolute anger towards script kiddies, but I really don’t think taking revenge on this one guy is going to change anything. The prison is a place for people who are of risk to other people’s physical well being (violence, sexual crimes, etc). If tossing people into excessively long prison sentences actually helped, the USA would be free of crime. I think the prison system should be a scalpel, not a club. After a point, there just is no deterrent in extremely harsh justice.

    I will agree that the system is flawed and we need more ways to work with convicted criminals. I also wholeheartedly agree that a suspended sentence is just as good as letting one walk free. Lance James is on the right track. People who have caused damage and other non-physical harm should have to work their way back into society. Working, studying, having to build a life as a condition to being a part of the welfare state. He should have to face the damage he’s done, and the society he’s harmed. Not through revenge, but a fair chance to fix and learn from his mistakes. This system should also prove financially more balanced than prison.

    Oh, and I think this applies to far more than just online crime. I’m thinking forms of financial fraud, property destruction, theft and pretty much any non-violent crimes.

    Let’s fix problems with our eyes open, not eliminate them with a blindfold on.

    1. Martin

      You’re right, the jail thing doesn’t work. He should be put to death to send a strong message.

      Why do we waste time keeping criminals alive? Isn’t death a better deterrent?

      1. Robert.Walter

        Unfortunately, the death penalty is problematic.

        As far as we know, it doesn’t deter those who don’t think they will be caught.

        And we do know, it has resulted in the deaths of individuals not guilty of the crimes they were executed for.

        1. Marko

          Death penalties and other idiotic sentencies are waste. If you study little about international crime rates you will find that countries with milder punishment, crime rates come low. Either Finnish people are superior to us or our criminal charges are far better. Or maybe we are more advanced as humans. See for your self: http://www.numbeo.com/crime/gmaps_rankings_country.jsp

          1. Freddie

            “If you study little about international crime rates you will find that countries with milder punishment, crime rates come low.”

            @Marko, I think you’re confusing cause and effect there… nations with low crime rates tend to have milder punishment but milder punishment doesn’t cause lower crime rates.

            Why would it?

            To carry that thesis to a logical conclusion, having no punishment for any crime should result in no crime.

            1. SpuriousLogic

              That’s not at all taking that ‘thesis’ to a ‘logical conclusion’, as anyone with a rudimentary understanding of logic can tell you.

              “On average, fitness scores are higher in countries where average food consumption is lower”

              Freddie: To take that thesis to it’s logical conclusion, if we reduce food consumption to nothing, people should be the fittest of all there!

              No. That’s an appeal to extremes fallacy.

              1. Freddie

                @Spurious, you completely changed what I said and what Marko said.

                He said that countries with milder punishment have lower crime, clearly indicating he believes there’s a cause and effect relationship.

                If he believes that, as he said he does, then he must believe no punishment should result in no crime.

                He has his cause and effect switched, as I indicated in my original response.

                Now your attempt at an analogy might be relevant if people could live without food, which everyone knows they can’t. Except, apparently you.

                And your analogy might work if no punishment resulted in no crime, which it would not.

              2. Freddie

                @Spurious, you completely changed what I said and what Marko said.

                He said that countries with milder punishment have lower crime, clearly indicating he believes there’s a cause and effect relationship.

                If he believes that, as he said he does, then he must believe no punishment should result in no crime.

                He has his cause and effect switched, as I indicated in my original response.

                Your attempt at an analogy might be relevant if people could live without food, which everyone knows they can’t. Except, apparently you.

                And your analogy might work if no punishment resulted in no crime, which it would not.

                No laws would result in no crime, by definition.

                But no punishment for breaking laws would result in more crime, not less.

    2. Freddie

      “The prison is a place for people who are of risk to other people’s physical well being (violence, sexual crimes, etc).”

      @Kyuu Eturautti, are you even slightly familiar with the concept of swatting?

      Do you not think having a group of armed, nervous, adrenaline-drenched police busting into the private residence of an unsuspecting innocent citizen is at all violent?

      The Finnish kid definitely belongs in prison for this reason alone.

    3. Karl S.

      Script kiddie is one thing, swatting puts others life and limb at risk. He belongs in prison.

      1. Freddie


        Swatting is orders of magnitude more serious than “script kiddying” or trolling, and it calls for more serious punishment.

  13. C/OD

    Kivimaki, needs some ruthless stank put on himself, from outsiders and then watched. Bomb threat and “Swatting !”If, this stops, it will fade into “no memory”. Caveat, if he does not have a man as a mentor to guide him -as it is said-he’s toast…The web will have his records .Absolutely an unacceptable way to live…If he would have done this to me , I would have run him to ground.

    1. Kyle

      role model in one’s life is irrelevant in such cases as this: you can’t cure a sociopath, no matter how many role models.

  14. jdgalt

    I disapprove of the title. A “troll” is nothing but an annoying person who won’t shut up. These criminals have nothing in common with that description.

    “Swatting” needs to get the perp sent to prison, regardless of age. It has also become common enough that police agencies need to learn about it and stop assuming everyone they meet at a target location is an enemy just because somebody called that location in. (Indeed, the number of SWAT teams needs to be drastically reduced — they are getting used without good reasons even when no false report was made.)

  15. CooloutAC

    I wouldn’t exactly call that trolling BK lol. I’m probably considered a troll on your blog by many, but should I go to jail just for passionately debating topics on an online forum when addressed?

    What this kid did, goes way way beyond any “trolling”.

    Right now Arizona is using the word like the word terrorist. Wanting a max sentence of 25 years for “trolling”. The use of this word this way is starting to scare me. Its meant to end free speech.

  16. David L

    Perhaps “Anonymous” will give him a taste of his own medicine. Afterall,Is’nt Anonymous the ones who fixed the PlayStation ddos last Christmas?

    1. Kyle

      Please tell me you’re kidding? I beg of you…

  17. G-money

    There is the option of sending Moose and Rocko to his house to help him find his wallet and common sense.

  18. JCitizen

    Just what I was thinking as well! He better hope the victims don’t find out where his parent’s basement is! >:(

    1. JCitizen

      This post was meant to be a reply to Punisher and Leo. Sometimes this site gets funky!

  19. Robert.Walter

    Regarding the subject of Brian’s article, until the US statute of limitations run out in his crimes, this kid would be wise to adopt Depp Sepp Blatter’s personal international travel policy.

    1. twinmustangranchdressing

      I believe that in the U.S., an accused criminal who’s not in custody can be indicted and then there’s no deadline for capturing him.

  20. Greg Scott

    “There’s a pretty clear distinction here. As far as I’m aware nobody has ever died in such an incident. Nor have I heard of anyone suffering bodily injury.”

    Julius Kivimäki, if you’re reading these comments and gloating with your friends about your exploits, consider a small story that appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press shortly after the 2013 Target breach. Apparently, one innocent victim of that fiasco was a welfare recipient in Wisconsin. The article said she took her own life after somebody drained her cash card.

    So now you **have** heard of such an incident contributing to somebody suffering bodily injury. Use the break the Finnish legal system gave you to clean up your act. Next time, your judge might not be so charitable.

  21. Elaine

    As more and more evil doers and the corrupt are rewarded and not punished for their crimes, the honest person will end up with absolutely nothing.

  22. mewood

    The boy seems at first sight to be in the category of Almost a Psychopath… the home background and care can be excellent but the condition seems to be inborn. I don’t think it is treatable either.
    Delusions of grandeur is evident.
    Other points of view do not occur to them and they don’t have any fellow feelings
    Many are living in any community and are a menace.

  23. Roeg

    What this kids don’t realize is that not everyone they damage are responsible adults that will just use the law to grab them. If they damage and attack the wrong person, some of them will not sue you. You will end up dead somewhere, example is the Russian/Chinese mafia and other criminal organizations with deep ties to legal companies.

    If you hack them and make them lose millions, we are not going to read about the hackers in the news. Even minors are not immune to bullets and that is not a videogame.

    There multiple cases of supposed hackers that are found dead. It’s a very dangerous game some of these kids are playing because the same anonymity they think protects them, also protects the other party.

    There is no way someone is going to link the murder to another place in the planet which he hacked once. So the same anonymity means they can just send someone down and apply their own justice because when we are talking about millions in damage, murder and crime is pretty normal as revenge. And hacking has a financial impact.

    You may feel safe today behind a keyboard in some remote place but tomorrow you disappears and strangely since you tried to be so anonymous all the time, nobody is going to miss you either.

  24. markD

    I agree with someone above who said calling this trolls is a gross trivialization. People have been killed in “swatting” situations and the behavior does fit serious criminal and psychopathy descriptions much better. On the other hand, Brian can’t very well afford to tick off the Lizards, and this little psychopath, don’t you think they’ve proved what they are willing to do to people? So you have to read between the lines a bit. I think any serious and adult mind gets what this person is and what Finland’s court has allowed. It’s not like what he’s done has affected any of them personally, that seems to be what it takes to learn what something is these days.

    1. markD

      PS The current professional terminology description, by the way, is “intra-species predator.” Don’t be too glib or dismissive. These are the same people who set animals and people on fire, for example, and that’s just for openers. Thinking they are harmless “class clowns” and brilliant but harmless geeks is what gets you mass murder. Look to Hollywood’s imagination for what these people can do, because what Hollywood dreams up, this kind of kid can operationalize it. This kid’s reaction suggests all the signs.

      1. Chip Douglas

        That’s it! obama evolved from pulling wings off of flies to a intra-species predator. Again, if we do the kid I say we burn him too!

  25. JohnnyLaw

    This kid is nothing but a script kiddie and the face of a team of other script kiddies, all they have ever done is leech exploits, ddos, and swat innocent people. The people who they get their resources from are the ones truly laughing because they are smart enough to not be a public head of a criminal organization and stay in the shadows where every true hacker is.

  26. Jeff

    Dang. If I decide to start breaking crimes, I am going to Finland.

  27. Random guy commenting

    Even with this light sentence, later criminal and civil cases probably mean that he (and perhaps parents) are going to pay compensation $$$ up to 15 years.

    It will remind him if/when he is losing 1/3 of his salary or benefits every month for years to come.

    1. IA Eng

      So he will ask his cyber punks to crack some cards and send him cash in the mail. Problem is solved for him.

      Now its up to the cops and courts to care, and to catch this.

  28. Garry

    I have a keen interest in cyber crime and I have been counseling Juveniles since last five years. There are many who are not habitual offenders, But few of them are habitual offenders they keep committing the same crime again and again.
    For these Juveniles (habitual offenders) there must be some provision, as they are taking it for granted.
    They are damn sure that even if they commit crime they won’t be punished for that.

  29. IA Eng

    If he IS human, I bet he was about to crap himself before the sentence. Now in his moronic ways of looking at himself, he thinks he’s won. Once he grows up and his brain engages and he looks upon his past he is going to say something close to “that was pretty dumb”. Ah, yeah.

    Well, mark your future as untrusted, ride bold, stupid and ignornat in your ways. I hope the best job he ever gets is a burger flipping position or a well deserved cell.

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