[ISN] Harvard hacker 'El Griton' pleads guilty

From: William Knowles (erehwonat_private)
Date: Tue May 19 1998 - 22:04:58 PDT

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    OSTON (AP) [5.19.98] An Argentine computer hacker pleaded 
    guilty Tuesday to breaking into a Harvard University computer 
    to gain access to U.S. military documents.
    Under the plea agreement, Julio Cesar Ardita will serve three 
    years probation in Argentina and pay a $5,000 fine.
    According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Ardita returned to 
    the United States voluntarily from his native Argentine to 
    face charges of illegal wiretapping and computer crimes.
    "If we aren't vigilant, cyber crime will turn the Internet into 
    the Wild West of the 21st century," Attorney General Janet Reno 
    said. "The Justice Department is determined to pursue 
    cyber-criminals at home and abroad."
    More than a year ago federal agents used the first ever court-ordered
    wiretap of a computer network to track down the the 23-year-old
    computer science student and son of a former Argentine military
    During the summer of 1995, the defense department noticed several
    intrusions into military and university computer systems containing
    sensitive information. The intrusions, which occurred from July 12 to
    Dec. 28, 1995, were traced to an Internet host computer at Harvard
    In that November and December, a court-ordered wiretap was 
    placed on a computer run by Harvard University's Faculty of 
    Arts and Sciences on the Internet.
    Ardita's computer and files were seized in December by order 
    of Argentine Federal Judge Wilma Lopez.
    Law enforcement officers have done surveillance without a 
    wiretap order on computer systems that warn users their 
    communications might be monitored, but Harvard's system 
    didn't have such a warning.
    Authorities said Ardita broke into the Harvard computer first 
    in August 1995, stole passwords from some of its 16,500 
    legitimate users and used the computer to penetrate military, 
    NASA and other university computers on the Internet.
    Ardita also illegally accessed computers at the California 
    Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts and 
    Northeastern University, as well as sites in Korea, Mexico, 
    Taiwan, Chile and Brazil, authorities said.
    His activities were first detected at the Naval Command Control 
    and Ocean Surveillance Center, which contained information on 
    aircraft design, radar technology and satellite engineering.
    A government computer program called Eyewatch searched all
    communications on the Harvard computer for Ardita's telltale
    trademarks so investigators could pick them out to read.
    Ardita regularly referred to himself as "el griton," Spanish 
    for "the screamer," and referred to his electronic bulletin 
    board of the same name.
    He had used the same name years earlier on another electronic 
    bulletin board which was posted on the Internet.
    Authorities said Ardita accessed some sensitive information on
    satellites, radiation and energy, but said none was vital to 
    national security.
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