[ISN] Hacker accused of using USW computers for solving math problem

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Wed Sep 16 1998 - 02:15:47 PDT

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    Forwarded From: edison <edisont_private>
    Hacker accused of using U S West computers for solving math problem 
       DENVER, September 15 - A 28-year-old computer expert is accused of
    hacking into the U S West computer system and diverting more than 2,500
    machines that should have been helping answer phones to his effort to
    solve a 350-year-old math problem, according to documents filed in a
    federal court. 
       Aaron Blosser also allegedly obtained the passwords to 15,000 U S West
    workstations and sent much of the coded material he found in them onto the
    Internet, according to an FBI search warrant served at his Lakewood,
    Colo., home. 
      The warrant says Blosser, a contract computer consultant who worked for
    a vendor that was hired by Denver-based U S West, is under investigation
    for computer fraud. 
       In a telephone interview with The Denver Post, Blosser said he has not
    been charged with any crime and said he made no money from his
    unauthorized use of U S West computers.  He also failed in his
    mathematical quest: the search for a new prime number. 
       "I've worked on this (math) problem for a long time," said Blosser. 
    "When I started working at U S West, all that computational power was just
    too tempting for me." 
       Blosser enlisted 2,585 computers to work at various times during the
    day and night and quickly ran up 10.63 years of computer processing time
    in his search for a new prime number. 
       U S West spokesman David Beigie called the hacking "unprecedented"  in
    company history. "It would be virtually impossible to do it from the
    outside," he said.  Blosser's alleged hacking was discovered when
    computers at U S West's facility in Phoenix, which normally respond in 3
    to 5 seconds, took as long as five minutes to retrieve telephone numbers. 
       The computers were so slow in mid-May that customer calls had to be
    rerouted to other states, and at one point the delays threatened to close
    down the Phoenix Service Delivery Center. 
       On May 27, U S West's Intrusion Response Team found a software program
    on the system that "captured U S West computers to work on a project
    unrelated to U S West Services," according to the search warrant. 
       The anti-hacking team traced the software to a terminal at the
    company's Littleton offices, where they found Blosser, a self-described
    "math geek." 
       Blosser allegedly showed agents how he remotely installed software on
    computers throughout the U S West system and reprogrammed them to search
    for a new prime number. 
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