[ISN] Rhode Island Computer hacker and head of Virii sent to prison

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sat Jan 16 1999 - 16:44:57 PST

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    Computer hacker sent to prison 
    Friday, January15, 1999 -- (BOSTON -AP) - After being sentenced to prison
    for hacking his way into others' computers, a 21-year-old Rhode Island man
    said he may start a computer security consulting firm after he's released.
    Sean Trifero, who said on the witness stand he used to run the national
    computer hacking group known as the Virii, was sentenced Thursday in U.S.
    District Court to one year and a day in prison. He pleaded guilty last
    October to tapping into five academic and commercial computing systems
    without permission in 1996 and 1997. That disrupted on-line services at
    Harvard and Amherst colleges, and other places.
    U.S. District Judge Patti Saris, who sentenced him, said the $8-an-hour
    retailing job he held was a waste of his talents, and suggested he might
    teach children how to use computers.  ``Other people were charging $50 an
    hour to fix the problems you created,'' she told Trifero. 
    After the sentencing hearing, Trifero said he wants to return to college
    after prison, and may start that consulting firm. ``I do want to start a
    business of some type,'' he told The Boston Globe. ``It would make sense
    to do what I know.''
    Saris questioned whether the disruptions and damages Trifero caused
    amounted $67,500, as prosecutors claim.
    Further hearings will be held on the amount, and Trifero may have to pay
    for the damages. 
    He could have been sentenced to 18 months in prison, but prosecutors
    recommended the lesser sentence and agreed he could serve it in a federal
    camp, which could mean he will be freed in six months. The judge rejected
    a request that Trifero be banned from the Internet, except for work.
    Prosecutors said members of Virii bragged of breaking into computers of
    NASA and other governmental agencies, and threatening national security
    Two high school students in California who were connected to the Virii
    admitted last year that they looked through Pentagon computers. They were
    put on probation.
    Trifero said the Virii's main aim was to test computer security, and not
    to abuse systems.
    He said he and others in the Virii intruded into computers, shut down chat
    rooms and used abusive language on line.
    But, he told the Globe, those activities were not malicious.  ``I feel
    badly that they couldn't patch up their systems easily,'' he said. ``But
    my intention wasn't to steal money out of their pockets. It was to
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