[ISN] Hacker Sentenced to Prison

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Feb 23 1999 - 06:52:00 PST

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    Forwarded From: shadowvrai@trust-me.com
    Hacker Sentenced to Prison
    by James Glave and John Gartner 
    7:00 p.m.  22.Feb.99.PST
    A Rhode Island hacker who broke into universities, disabled Internet
    services, and ran a Web site for hackers will have to break through more
    than firewalls after receiving a one- year federal prison sentence. 
    US District Judge Patti Saris recommended Sean Trifero, 21, of Middleton,
    Rhode Island, spend 12 months in a boot camp and ordered he pay US$32,650
    in damages to the institutions he violated.
    During 1996 and 1997, Trifero broke into computers at Harvard University,
    damaged servers at Amherst College, and stole passwords and disrupted
    services at numerous sites in Alaska, Nebraska, and Florida.
    Trifero pled guilty to computer-hacking charges in October 1998 and
    admitted running a hacking-group Web site called Virii.
    Colleagues of Trifero who contributed to the site said his sentence was
    too harsh. "Let the punishment fit the crime. Rapists don't get that much
    time," said a colleague who identified himself as Calldan, a 21-year-old
    from Oregon.
    Fellow hackers familiar with Trifero's actions said he was a scapegoat for
    other hackers' crimes and poorly secured Web sites. 
    "If you leave your car parked in Harlem with it running and walk away, do
    you expect it to be there in an hour?" said a hacker identified as
    Neverend. The interview was conducted in Internet Relay Chat, a medium
    where identities can easily be concealed or forged.
    Calldan added that any competent system administrator could have stopped
    the attacks within five minutes. 
    "I think [the sentence] was appropriate," said Bill Fread, director of
    information technology at Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, one of the
    companies that was compromised. In a telephone interview, Fread said
    although the damage to his company was limited, hackers need to be
    deterred. "There is a level of trust on the Internet, and it never hurts
    to use a hammer to reinforce that trust from time to time."
    Fread said the hacked server was a test server outside the firewall and
    did not contain sensitive information. Fread said Trifero used known entry
    methods and was not viewed as particularly expert.
    The criminal investigation was a cooperative effort between the US
    attorney's office, the FBI, the Middletown Police Department and the
    Inspector General of NASA.
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