[ISN] Teen Hacker's Offer To Help Leads To Felony Charges

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Mar 13 2002 - 23:43:25 PST

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "[ISN] UK study: Passwords often easy to crack"

    By Brian McWilliams, Newsbytes
    13 Mar 2002, 2:30 PM CST
    A Kansas teenager who the FBI says hacked a California city's Web site
    and then offered to secure it was charged Thursday with 11 felony
    counts of computer crime.
    Matthew T. Kroeker, 18, allegedly used the nickname "Artech" while
    defacing more than 50 Web sites in 2000.
    Among Artech's suspected victims are sites operated by the U.S.  
    Department of Transportation and Department of Labor, and the Internet
    home page of the City of Stockton, Calif.
    Webmaster Cathy Sloan said that the Stockton homepage was replaced in
    June 2000 with one that simply said "Tard."
    Shortly thereafter, Sloan received an e-mail from someone identifying
    himself as "Matt" who took credit for the defacement and offered to
    help her secure the site in exchange for a laptop computer.
    "I immediately called the local police and we decided I should play
    along with him while our tech guys were trying to trace where his
    e-mails were coming from," said Sloan, who said that the FBI took over
    the case when it determined Kroeker was from out of state.
    As part of the ruse, Sloan said she exchanged 90 e-mails with Kroeker
    over the course of several weeks..After gaining his confidence, she
    told Kroeker that the city would bring him in as a volunteer to work
    on the Stockton Web site and give him a laptop, but that he first
    needed to complete an application form.
    "He sent us his name and address and all sorts of other information,"  
    Sloan said. "The next thing I knew, he was arrested at home in July by
    FBI agents dressed up as UPS delivery men."
    Kroker's attorney, Kevin P. Moriarity, said that Kroeker was 16 when
    the arrest occurred, and that he cooperated fully with law enforcement
    FBI agents took a statement from Kroeker and confiscated his
    computers, but no charges were filed against the boy, Moriarity said.
    "The FBI told his parents he didn't need an attorney and they didn't
    need to worry about anything else. His family assumed it was all over
    with," said Moriarity.
    Kroeker has not defaced any sites since the arrest in 2000, and
    subsequently completed high school and is enrolled in a community
    college, Moriarty said.
    "He wasn't very mature at the time but he took responsibility and
    altered his behavior. They couldn't have asked for a better outcome,
    so this is very unfortunate that this happened now," he said.
    Artech signed his Feb. 15, 2000 defacement of the Department of
    Transportation's information services site with the words, "Artech -
    America's biggest screw up!"
    Kroeker, who turned 18 on Jan. 30, will not face federal hacking
    charges, but state prosecutors said they will seek to try him as an
    adult under Kansas' computer crime statutes.
    "We're vehemently opposed to that. We hope that when the state reviews
    all the facts they will agree that it will be fundamentally unfair to
    pursue this case on the adult level," said Moriarity.
    The FBI and Kansas prosecutors were not immediately available for
    Brian Martin, one of the operators of the Attrition.org security
    information site, said that Artech apparently was conflicted over his
    status in the hacking ranks.
    Several of his defacements included the statement, "Artech supports
    d2sk," which Artech said stands for "death to script kiddies,
    according to copies of the defaced pages archived by Attrition.
    Yet in an interview with ZDnet in February 2000, Artech admitted to
    using "script kiddie" methods and said he would "rather be a script
    kiddie than use some mad skill and take down an unknown Web site."
    "Script kiddies" is a pejorative term used by hackers to describe
    young hackers who rely on tools created by more skilled hackers.
    Martin said that Attrition warned Artech that his methods could land
    him in jail. In July 2000, Attrition notified Artech that the site
    would not mirror his new defacements because they suspected him of
    staging attacks on sites operated by friends.
    "It was obvious that his goal was merely to gain status and get his
    name on the mirror," said Martin.
    A partial archive of Artech's defacements is at
    Artech's government site defacements are mirrored at
    ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
    To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY
    of the mail.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Mar 14 2002 - 02:35:45 PST