[ISN] Withdrawal ordered for U.S. Pentagon hackers

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 06 1998 - 01:20:17 PST

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05at_private>
    Withdrawal ordered for U.S. Pentagon hackers
    06-11-1998 01:13 
       SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5 (Reuters) - Two California teenagers who mounted
    one of the most systematic hack attacks ever on U.S. military computers
    have received their official sentence from a federal judge: no more
         U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney ordered the two, aged 16 and 17,
    to keep their cybernoses clean during their three-year probation, the U.S. 
    Attorney's Office announced on Thursday. 
         "The defendants will attend school and make their grades," the office
    said, reporting the conditions of probation imposed during Wednesday's
    closed sentencing session. 
         The judge forbade the hackers from possessing or using a computer
    modem, from acting as computer consultants, or having any contact with
    computers out of sight of "a school teacher, a librarian, an employer, or
    other person approved by the probation officer." 
        Chris Andrian, a lawyer for one of the boys, said Thursday the judge
    had been wise to pull the plug. 
         "That is the punishment aspect; it is like taking their toy away from
    them," Andrian said. "But I think (the order) should stick. They have been
    sufficiently frightened and humiliated that they don't want to run back
    into the arms of the law." 
        The two hackers, who have not been officially identified, pleaded
    guilty in July to charges of juvenile delinquency stemming from a string
    of cyber-attacks in February which set alarm bells ringing over the state
    of U.S. computer security. 
         After an intensive investigation by the FBI, the Defence Department
    and NASA, all alarmed over hacker assaults on sensitive military and
    institutional computers, the boys were cornered on Feb. 25, when FBI
    agents descended on Cloverdale, about 75 miles (120 km) north of San
    Francisco, searched their homes and seized computers, software and
         Although officials said no classified networks were penetrated, the
    ease with which the hackers accessed computers at Lawrence Livermore
    National Laboratory, the U.S. Air Force and other organisations clearly
    demonstrated how vulnerable the U.S. computer system had become. 
         Deputy Defence Secretary John Hamre told reporters the barrage was
    "the most organised and systematic attack the Pentagon has seen to date," 
    and officials said later the boys' activities had "had the potential to
    disrupt military communications throughout the world." 
        The teenagers, who went by the codenames "Makaveli" and "TooShort," 
    pleaded guilty to illegally accessing restricted computers, using
    "sniffer"  programmes to intercept computer passwords, and reprogramming
    computers to allow complete access to all of their files. 
         They also pleaded guilty to inserting "backdoor" programmes in the
    computers to allow themselves to reenter at will. 
         Beginning with a local Internet service provider, which eventually
    raised the alarm over possible intrusion, the boys leapfrogged into other
    systems, including the University of California at Berkeley, the
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, national laboratories, numerous
    military computers and two sites in Mexico. 
         Each of the two teenagers could have been put into custody until his
    21st birthday. But Chesney's sentence was the result of plea agreements
    which included the "no computer" provision. 
         The two boys were also ordered to serve 100 hours of community
    service and to pay $4,330 and $1,195 respectively in restitution to
    institutions and companies damaged by their intrusions. 
         Andrian, the lawyer for one of the boys, said most of the money would
    go to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He added that he felt the
    teenage hackers had no malicious intentions, but were simply trying to
    probe the country's most advanced computer systems. 
         "I call it the Mount Everest effect," Andrian said. "They did it to
    prove they could." 
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