Young criminal hackers get assigned jobs at Dutch ICT firms

Hackers or Keyboard users
(photo:José Goulão/Flickr)(photo:José Goulão/Flickr)

Foundation Halt and the Public Prosecution Service together launched an experiment in which young criminal hackers are sent to work at an ICT company as part of their punishment. The first trial run of this experiment, called Yoda after the Star Wars character, has already been completed in collaboration with three ICT companies in the northern provinces, the Prosecutor said in a statement. 

Two boys from Drenthe, aged 14 and 15, already went through the experiment. The eldest was punished for hacking into a website and stealing a list of email addresses and passwords. The younger crashed his school's network. They were removed from school by the police, had to hand in their computers, write a security plan and a letter of application. During the holidays, they did their community service by working at one of the participating ICT companies.

According to the Public Prosecutor, this form of community service made a real impression on the boys - they thought it was a great experience, but also experienced it as a punishment because they had to work instead of being on holiday. 

Foundation Halt hopes that working at an ICT company as part of their punishment, will teach these young hackers that they can "turn something punishable into something positive", and that "they can also have a future as an ethical hacker." The foundation and Public Prosecutor are positive about the first phase of this experiment and will soon expand it to the rest of the Netherlands.