Hacking masterminds are hard to prosecute


When a former Australian army communications expert, Vittorio Lalli-Cafini, started work at a small business in Perth called the Mod Shop in 2003, his boss told him to figure out a way to hack into a company called Foxtel.

Lalli-Cafini did as he was told, and less than a month later, he had found a way in. The owners of the Mod Shop then set up a program to allow card­sharing for legitimate Foxtel card-holders. Four years on, when the company was ordered to pay up more than $1 million, Lalli-Cafini did not face time behind bars. The authorities did not prosecute. The “serial hacker”, as he was later called, was never charged. In fact, his bosses took the blame but this is not always the case. 

More often, in corporate hacking and cybercrime, it is the low-level players, the weakest link in the corporate chain - the hacker, who gets charged, prosecuted and sent to jail. The alternative is often too difficult to prove – especially in criminal cases – so the true masterminds behind the crime, and usually those who stand to benefit the most financially, escape scott free.