[ISN] USAF Cadet found guilty of hacking private computers of N.C. company

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sun Mar 14 1999 - 22:08:53 PST

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 13, 1999 5:07 p.m. EST
    http://www.nandotimes.com) An Air Force cadet has been found guilty of
    hacking into a North Carolina company's computer system and causing $6,300
    in damage.
    Christopher D. Wiest, 21, a junior at the Air Force Academy, was found
    innocent on two other computer hacking charges by a military jury on
    Wiest faces up to five years in military prison, expulsion from the
    academy and discharge from the service.
    During the five-day trial, Air Force prosecutors presented evidence they
    said showed Wiest used a computer at the academy in late 1997 to illegally
    enter the systems of three companies, causing roughly $80,000 in damage.
    Prosecutors said Wiest hacked into the computers of Interlink
    Communications, a North Carolina company that provides Internet access,
    and set up dozens of versions of programs used for Internet chat sessions.
    The programs slowed down Interlink's system and required several days of
    work to repair.
    The government alleged Wiest, using someone else's Internet nickname, then
    jumped electronically to two other companies, Bunting.com of Dallas and
    Touche Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., and erased data or planted destructive
    programs in their systems. 
    Defense attorneys admitted Wiest had gone into Interlink's system, but
    they said he was duped by a North Carolina man into thinking he was
    allowed to be there. They denied Wiest went into the other systems.  They
    said the real culprit was the man who told Wiest it was OK to go into
    Interlink's system.
    After four hours of deliberation, the jury found Wiest guilty of going
    into Interlink's system and setting up the programs. They concluded he
    didn't intentionally cause the damage but had acted recklessly. Either
    way, the charge brings up to a maximum of five years in prison. 
    Both sides presented hundreds of printed pages of computer logs and the
    equivalent of more than a million pages of evidence on computer tapes
    during the trial.
    Wiest, who is from Pittsburgh, continued to attend classes at the academy
    as the investigation and trial proceeded.
    If Wiest receives a sentence of a year or more, his case will
    automatically be appealed.
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