[ISN] Vienna Teen Jailed in Computer Crime

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Feb 12 1999 - 16:14:34 PST

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    (Washington Post) [2.12.99] A freshman at James Madison High School in
    Vienna has jailed after allegedly hacking into Clemson University's
    computer system and causing thousands of dollars in damages, and then
    trying to enter NASA's system from a computer in his school library.
    An 18-year-old Clemson student also has been charged in the case, accused
    of giving the 15-year-old Vienna youth the user IDs and passwords that
    enabled his entry to the computer science laboratory's network at the
    South Carolina school. After that incident, Fairfax County police seized
    the Vienna student's home computer, but a week later the youth allegedly
    tried and failed to hack into computers at the National Aeronautics and
    Space Administration.
    The Vienna student was arrested Feb. 1 on charges of felony computer
    trespass and misdemeanor computer fraud and taken to the county's juvenile
    detention center.  His father declined comment last night.  The Washington
    Post generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes. 
    The FBI and police in South Carolina unraveled the chain of events after
    someone entered the computer science department's computers the weekend of
    Oct. 17.  The hacker removed parts of the operating system on numerous
    computers in the department's computer lab, causing the cancellation of
    several computer classes and impeding several others, according to Fairfax
    County court records.
    The break-in required Clemson programmers to rebuild the department's
    operating system and reissue more than 1,500 user identifications. The
    episode cost Clemson's computer science department about $6,300,
    university Police Chief Lonnie Saxon said.
    FBI agents tracked down the student whose user identification had been
    used to enter the computer system, and he reportedly told agents he had
    given his password to a 15-year-old living in Virginia. The agents tracked
    the 15-year-old to his Internet providers, Bell Atlantic Internet
    Solutions and a service called webFreaks, and subpoenaed records to locate
    him in Vienna, court records show.
    Police seized the youth's computer, monitor and modem on Jan. 20, along
    with assorted papers and 28 diskettes.
    While detectives were assembling the case, police believe, the student
    entered the high school library at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 26, logged on to the
    Internet and tried to enter NASA's computers. Police said a security
    officer at NASA detected the attempt, tracked it to the school computers
    and notified Fairfax police. 
    Investigators checked logs of the library's computer users for the morning
    of Jan. 26 and found the student they already were investigating, police
    spokeswoman Gretchen Lacharite said.
    A NASA spokesman said the agency does not comment on attempts to penetrate
    its various computer systems.  Police said the attempt was not successful.
    Internet access in Fairfax County schools is basically unfettered,
    district spokesman Paul Regnier said. "Kids can come into the library and
    get on the Internet,"  Regnier said. "It's pretty open." 
    On Monday, authorities in South Carolina arrested Steven Ray McAlister,
    18, of Pelzer, S.C., and charged him with conspiracy to commit computer
    crime, naming the Vienna youth as his co-conspirator.  McAlister, a
    freshman majoring in computer science, was released on $373 bond. 
    Steven D. Stone, the attorney for the Vienna youth, said the student's
    family "believes the child understands the serious nature of the charges,
    and the family's efforts, working together with the child, will be to
    positively direct his talents and his energy and his intellect."
    Stone said the youth has been a good student making good grades and "has
    begun demonstrating some talents for a number of 21st century endeavors.
    Hopefully the system will take into account his youth and the fact he can
    have a very bright future if he's given the ability to go forward."
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