[ISN] NASA Nabs E-mail Bomber

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Tue Apr 28 1998 - 00:08:43 PDT

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                            ****NASA Nabs E-mail Bomb Hacker
    OTC  4/27/98 10:25 PM 
     WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., 1998 APR 27 (Newsbytes) -- By Bill Pietrucha, 
    Newsbytes. NASA is starting to send almost as many people to court for 
    computer crimes as they are sending astronauts into orbit. An Alabama 
    hacker pled guilty late last week to launching an e-mail bomb attack, 
    bringing the agency's recent guilty plea record to a perfect four of  four.
       The Alabama-based hacker pled guilty in United States District Court 
    for the Northern District of Alabama, for sending damaging  transmissions
    to a NASA electronic-mail server system, in violation of  The Computer
    Fraud and Abuse Act. The court withheld the identity of  the juvenile
    offender, and ordered him to comply with probationary  conditions for 12
       An investigation by special agents from the Computer Crimes Division 
    (CCD) in NASA's Office of Inspector General found that the offender 
    launched an e-mail bomb attack last August 4 consisting of 14,000  e-mail
    messages across a NASA network against another person using  network
    systems in a commercial domain. 
       The use of NASA's network bandwidth caused a simultaneous attack 
    against the agency's electronic-mail network server at the Marshall  Space
    Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama resulting in a loss of  network
    services, CCD Director Thomas J. Talleur told Newsbytes. 
       Although the juvenile's attack was intended against another  individual,
    and not directly against NASA, other recent cases were more  direct. 
       Earlier this month, a former Kennedy Space Center contractor employee 
    pled guilty in Federal district court at Orlando, Florida, to a charge 
    that he used his workstation to hack into the computers of several  Orlando
       Shawn Hillis, 26, of Orlando, Florida, a former employee of a NASA 
    contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., used a NASA workstation at the  Kennedy
    Space Center to gain unauthorized access to a computer network  domain
    located at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and  downloaded
    password files to his NASA workstation. The unauthorized  access was
    discovered by NASA systems operations employees at Kennedy  Space Center 
       As part of the plea agreement, the court ordered Hillis to make 
    restitution to other victims in Florida, including: Time Warner Cable; 
    Full Service Network, formerly of Maitland; Diamond Star Network,  Orlando;
    Internet Access Group, Altamonte Springs; and Junto Net Press,  Winter
    Park, Florida. 
       Hillis' case is set for sentencing on July 14. 
       "Both government and private industry sources cite the Internet,  inside
    offenders, and certain foreign countries as the biggest threats  to the
    national security of the United States," Talleur told Newsbytes.  "This is
    just another example of an inside offender." 
       Two other inside offenders also recently pled guilty to using a NASA 
    computer to download pornographic images from various Internet Web  sites
    during duty hours. 
       Nicholas Catalano and Jeffery Miller, former employees of the  security
    contractor at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,  Maryland, pled
    guilty to a charge of violating NASA regulations in  United States District
    Court, Hyattsville, Maryland, and were each  sentenced to one year
    probation, 40 and 30 hours of community service,  respectively, and a $175
       Talleur cautioned that most computer hackers today fall into more 
    serious categories than the four recent cases NASA successfully 
       "Today's hackers are not juveniles playing games," Talleur told 
    Newsbytes. "The serious threats are coming from militias and other  fringe
    groups who seriously want to disrupt and destroy the government,  as well
    as from international terrorists and groups trying to spy by  computer. 
       "Computer security problems will get a lot worse before they get 
    better," Talleur said, noting the growing sophistication, age, and  motives
    behind hacking. 
       "Many computer hacking cases now involve individuals in their mid-20s 
    to mid-30s," Talleur said, "and they're involved with a number of  fringe
    groups who either perceive the government as the enemy, or are  trying to
    obtain information to destabilize government security." 
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