[ISN] Ex-Del Mar man guilty of spamming

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Jun 27 2002 - 01:03:25 PDT

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    By Matt Krasnowski 
    June 26, 2002 
    LOS ANGELES - A former Del Mar man was found guilty yesterday of one
    count of computer "spamming" that stems from a flood of e-mail
    messages he sent that shut down the computer system of his former
    employer, El Segundo-based Tornado Development Inc.
    Bret McDanel, 29, was convicted by U.S. District Judge Lourdes Baird
    after a nine-day trial without a jury. Baird did not elaborate on her
    decision, other than to say the government proved its case "beyond a
    reasonable doubt."
    Baird scheduled McDanel's sentencing for Sept. 16. He faces a maximum
    five-year prison term and is in custody.
    Prosecutors allege that McDanel sought revenge against his former
    company and electronically attacked Tornado's computer in August and
    September 2000. Tornado provides subscribers with access to e-mails,
    voice messages, faxes and pages.
    McDanel quit the company in February 2000 and went to work for another
    firm. Prosecutors contend that he decided to strike at Tornado after
    learning the company was planning to acquire his new employer.
    The government alleged that McDanel hacked into Tornado's server, then
    sent thousands of e-mail messages at practically the same time,
    forcing the company to shut down its computer system.
    McDanel's lawyers said their client did not intend to harm the
    company. They argued that he was a "whistle-blower" who sent the
    e-mail messages to warn Tornado customers about a hole in the
    company's computer security system that could give other people access
    to their credit-card numbers.
    But in her summation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Johnston argued
    that McDanel's "intention was to create a disruption" at Tornado on
    Sept. 5, 2000, by sending thousands of e-mails to the server. Among
    those messages were 1,900 to his own e-mail address; a move that
    prosecutors said served no purpose but to overload Tornado's system.
    Johnston said McDanel committed a similar computer attack against a
    New Jersey company he worked for in 1997.
    Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Matz said the loss to Tornado was
    roughly $9,000. That is far below the $325,000 the FBI reported
    initially. Johnston and Matz had no comment about the first loss
    Gerald Salseda, a deputy federal public defender who represented
    McDanel, said it is against his office's policy to comment publicly
    about cases.
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