[ISN] Probe into wireless network hacking suspended

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Sep 17 2002 - 05:56:04 PDT

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    Houston Chronicle
    Sept. 16, 2002
    Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford has suspended his investigation
    into a security gap discovered earlier this year in a county-run
    wireless computer network.
    Stafford said his office will not issue a final report because the
    computer security analyst who pointed out the problem has since been
    indicted by a federal grand jury.
    Besides, Stafford added, his office found nothing that merits a report
    and he doesn't expect to reopen the probe.
    District Clerk Charles Bacarisse asked Stafford and District Attorney
    Chuck Rosenthal last March to investigate after Steve Jennings, head
    of the county's Central Technology Department, told him a wireless
    system run by Bacarisse's office was vulnerable to hackers.
    The problem had been brought to Jennings' attention by the Chronicle
    and computer security analyst Stefan Puffer, who demonstrated to
    Jennings how the system could be accessed with a laptop and phone card
    -- a practice known as "wardriving."
    At the time, Bacarisse downplayed the incident and said the system was
    only being tested. But he immediately shut it down and criticized
    Jennings for waiting until a day after the March 18 demonstration to
    inform him. Jennings said other county systems were vulnerable and he
    wanted to secure them first.
    Rosenthal's investigation resulted in no charges. But Puffer, who once
    worked for Bacarisse's office, was indicted in July for allegedly
    hacking into the system before the March 18 demonstration, causing
    officials to spend $5,000 to clean up after the breach. Puffer's
    lawyer has denied his client caused any damage or had any criminal
    Bacarisse and Jennings declined comment on Stafford's decision.
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