[ISN] Computer whiz still faces second lawsuit

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon May 20 2002 - 03:21:02 PDT

  • Next message: InfoSec News: "[ISN] "Nessus phones home": the final report."

    Friday, May 17, 2002
    By Crystal Harmon
    A teen-age computer wizard has won his legal battle to get the label 
    "hacker" removed from his school record, but now the label 
    "eavesdropper" may be added to his criminal record.
    Nicholas J. Suchyta, 19, allegedly recorded his roommate and her 
    boyfriend having sex and also beamed live broadcasts of the activities 
    on the Internet early this year. The couple told police they had no 
    idea that the five computers in the living room were rigged with a Web 
    Bay County District Judge Scott J. Newcombe arraigned Suchyta on two 
    counts of installing eavesdropping devices and two counts of divulging 
    information obtained by eavesdropping. Each felony count carries a 
    maximum penalty of two years in prison and $2,000 in fines. Suchyta 
    was released from the Bay County Jail on May 8 after posting a $5,000 
    Suchyta had shared an apartment on North Hampton Road with an 
    18-year-old woman who said the two had been best friends since grade 
    school. But she said she became concerned when acquaintances said 
    they'd seen her having sex on the Internet with her 18-year-old 
    She told police she found the recordings on one of the computers, but 
    as she attempted to download the images for evidence, the computer was 
    shut down, apparently from one of the two laptop computers she said 
    Suchyta carries with him. 
    On Feb. 2, police searched the apartment and found a camera hidden on 
    top of one of the computers. With the help of a computer crimes 
    expert, they also found four files containing images of the two teens 
    having sex that apparently had been broadcast on the Internet. 
    Bay City Police also found 14 modems that they determined had been 
    taken from Charter Communications, where Suchyta had worked as a 
    high-speed data technician. 
    Suchyta, who now resides on South Euclid Avenue, declined to comment 
    to The Times about the cases. 
    Meanwhile, Suchyta and Bay City Public Schools have settled a civil 
    suit Suchyta brought against school officials who disciplined him for 
    downloading a "hacking" program. The program included instructions for 
    capturing log-ins and passwords of system users. 
    Suchyta was a co-op student who worked in the student records office 
    and the computer lab, and helped make the transition from one type of 
    system to the other. Staff turned to Suchyta for help with many 
    computer glitches, and, Suchyta said, a secretary gave him the 
    password to the student-record program so he could help her update 
    vaccination records. 
    Later a teacher reported seeing Suchyta browsing student records in 
    class, according to testimony given during depositions for the 
    lawsuit. Co-op supervisor Michael Kehrier said school officials warned 
    Suchyta to stay away from sensitive material, but they allowed him to 
    continue his work in the school computer lab. 
    The district's technology director said he's reviewed security and 
    made some changes. 
    "No data is ever going to be 100-percent secure," John Strycker said 
    this morning. "But a system is only going to be as secure as the user. 
    People that are new to using technology - and in this district it's 
    relatively new - might not understand that passwords are like keys and 
    you don't just hand them out." 
    In November 2000, according to depositions, a Central teacher was 
    having trouble with his computer and school technicians ran a virus 
    program, which found several files saved on Suchyta's hard drive. 
    Suchyta claimed he was simply collecting such information to evaluate 
    possible threats to the network, he said. 
    Assistant Principal Jonathan Whan suspended Suchyta for five days in 
    November 2000, fired him from his co-op job and kicked him out of 
    advanced computer classes. In written memos, Whan classified Suchyta's 
    actions as "hacking" the computer system. 
    Suchyta and his parents, Richard and Shannan, sued the school and Whan 
    for defamation of character, invasion of privacy, intentional 
    infliction of emotional distress and gross negligence. They also 
    accuse school officials of failing to provide copies of computer data 
    they requested under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act. 
    The Suchytas asked for more than $25,000 each. Their attorney, David 
    Skinner, said Thursday that the settlement - forged with help of a 
    mediator and yet to be approved by a judge - was amicable. He wouldn't 
    comment on a monetary settlement, but acknowledged that the schools 
    removed all records of the alleged "hacking" incident from Suchyta's 
    permanent record. 
    In the suit, Skinner described school officials' handling of the 
    incident as "open and hostile." 
    "The school district's agents accused a teen-age high school student 
    of being a hacker, removed him from the classes found most 
    interesting," the complaint reads. "The allegation that Nicholas is a 
    hacker creates the presumption in the community that he committed a 
    crime, that he is now a criminal." 
    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 : Mon May 20 2002 - 06:10:06 PDT