[ISN] Rogue Hackers Gallery

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Sep 08 1998 - 23:40:36 PDT

  • Next message: mea culpa: "[ISN] Hacker Can't Get Access (Mitnick)"

    Forwarded From: malat_private
    Rogue Hackers Gallery
    by Daryl Lindsey
    8:35pm  4.Sep.98.PDT
    The investigation into Kevin Mitnick's alleged hacking crimes is just one
    recent example of the FBI cranking up its computer crimes investigations. 
    In the wake of recent Pentagon network break-ins, which forced the hand of
    the US Justice Department and defense advisers to do serious network
    security soul searching, the feds are intensifying their efforts to halt
    computer crime. The number of pending FBI investigations into computer
    intrusions in 1998 has grown to 480, a 133 percent increase over 1997. 
    Despite the hurdles investigators face tracking bit bandits, the Federal
    Bureau of Investigation has taken down some of the country's most
    notorious.  Here's a rundown of memorable convictions in the past decade: 
    Convicted in 1990
    Sentence: three years probation, community service, fine
    Robert Morris' worm virus wrought such havoc on the Internet when it was
    unfurled on 2 November 1988 that curators at the Boston Computer Museum
    keep a copy in its historical collection. Morris, a scrappy 24-year-old
    Cornell University grad student, cited two inspirations behind his
    mischievous keying: Shockwave Rider by John Brunner -- a book about a
    gearhead warrior who tries to overthrow a network-dependent government by
    infesting its autocratic information arteries with a program called a
    "worm" -- and his own computer research. 
    Reproducing like mosquitoes on a bayou in summer, Morris' worm caused
    millions of dollars in damage at infected universities, NASA, the
    military, and other federal government agencies, and choked about 10
    percent of Internet traffic. One of the first big trials held after the
    passage of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, Morris was convicted
    in 1990 and sentenced to three years probation and 400 hours of community
    service. He was also fined US$10,000, and suspended from Cornell. 
    Convicted in 1990
    Sentences: 14 to 21 months in prison
    "Basically, they wanted to own 'Ma Bell,'" said Assistant US Attorney Kent
    Alexander, describing the hacking ambitions of the Atlanta branch of
    Legion of Doom to a Newsday reporter. The group, taking its cue from the
    villains of the popular Superfriends cartoon, turned BellSouth into their
    own Hall of Doom, hacking and copying the telco's 911 network. 
    BellSouth sniffed out the group in 1990 and turned them over to the FBI.
    The Legion was also known for marginally less nefarious hacks: breaking
    into phone company computers, seizing phone lines, and eavesdropping on
    phone conversations. Two Legion members were convicted of conspiracy and
    another for possession of illegal access devices and intent to defraud.
    Franklin Darden, 24, and Adam Grant, 22, both got 14-month prison
    sentences; Robert Riggs, 22, got 21 months. The network-menacing
    triumvirate were also forced to pay US$223,000 in restitution. 
    Convicted in 1991
    Sentence: four years in prison, three-year ban from computer use, fine
    Armed with the "Trash-80" his parents gave him, Dark Dante (Kevin Poulsen) 
    was adept at trespassing ARPANET and other government and private
    networks.  Still a teen when first caught in 1983, Poulsen was offered the
    typical post-hacker glam job as a security expert with hush-hush
    government-contractor SRI International in Menlo Park, California. 
    Poulsen spent his evenings hacking and breaking into Pacific Bell's
    innermost nodes. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Poulsen was a bit of a
    cheater -- he was an ace at picking locks, and would break into phone
    company offices and steal gear and manuals that would provide guides to
    the network once he hacked it. He was charged with computer crimes,
    espionage (a charge later dropped), and telephone fraud in 1990, but
    taunted prosecutors with his hacking prowess and evaded arrest for 17
    On the lam, Poulsen seized control of the phone lines at a Los Angeles
    radio station to win a convertible Porsche and trips to Hawaii. The feds
    extinguished Dark Dante's inferno in 1991. Poulsen was tried and convicted
    of computer crimes in relation to his new-found Porsche fetish and given
    the harshest hacker sentence ever: four years in prison, a US $58,000
    fine, and a ban from using computers for three years after his release. 
    Convicted in 1992
    Sentences: six months to one year in prison, community service, probation
    Operating out of Brooklyn and Queens in New York, the ethnically diverse
    Masters of Deception sought empowerment and street cred by hacking the
    networks of blue-chip corporations (including AT&T, Bank of America, and
    TRW) and the National Security Agency, using disarmingly primitive tools,
    like Commodore 64 computers. 
    Five members of MOD were tried for computer intrusions and stealing
    confidential information from credit reports. Convicted in 1992,
    celebrated Phiber Optik (Mark Abene) was sentenced to one year in jail.
    Acid Phreak (Eli Ladopoulos) and Scorpion (Paul Stira), were given
    six-month sentences, community services, and probation. Corrupt (John Lee)
    was sent to prison for a year. Outlaw (Julio Fernandez) avoided jail time
    by cooperating with investigators. 
    All were under 22 at the time of their indictment. New York city gave
    Phiber Optik a homecoming worthy of king when he got released from jail:
    fellow hackers feted him, and New York magazine named him one of the
    city's 100 smartest people. 
    Convicted in 1995
    Sentence: 3.5 years in prison, restricted use of computers for three years,
    Agent Steal, as the fast-car and bondage-loving scammer Justin Petersen
    was known in the hacker community, was arrested in 1993. He pleaded guilty
    to computer fraud charges for his efforts in rigging the same "Win a
    Porsche by Friday" radio contest as Kevin Poulsen, and digitally
    pickpocketing US$150,000 from a Glendale, California, financial services
    Petersen, then 32, agreed to rat on Poulsen and help prosecutors hunt
    other hackers in exchange for lenient treatment. He even helped agents
    bust Kevin Mitnick on a parole violation. But Petersen fled when the FBI
    caught him hacking again -- he was illegally tapping into banks while
    working with prosecutors. 
    When he was finally convicted in 1995, he was sentenced to
    three-and-a-half years in prison, three years probation that allowed him
    to use computers only at work, and ordered to pay more than US$40,000
    restitution. Petersen returned to jail this summer for parole violations. 
    Subscribe: mail majordomoat_private with "subscribe isn".
    Today's ISN Sponsor: Repent Security Incorporated [www.repsec.com]

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 13:03:32 PDT