[ISN] NY Times hacker surrenders, is released

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Sep 10 2003 - 23:07:53 PDT

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    By Kevin Poulsen
    Posted: 10/09/2003 
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A federal judge ordered Adrian Lamo released to
    his parents Tuesday afternoon, but barred the hacker from using
    computers, and ordered him to obtain full-time employment pending
    Federal magistrate judge Gregory Hollows ordered Lamo released on a
    $250,000 bond, part of it secured by his parent's house, in accordance
    with a negotiated surrender deal reached between the federal public
    defender's office and New York prosecutors Monday.
    The high bail was necessary, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Camil
    Skipper, because of the hacker's nomadic reputation. "He has led a
    transient lifestyle, he has been known as the 'homeless hacker,'"  
    Skipper told the court.
    Under the terms of his release, Lamo's future wanderings will be
    confined to the northeastern half of California, and southern New York
    state, unless he gets prior approval of the court to travel elsewhere.
    He was ordered to fly to New York City at the government's expense and
    turn himself in to FBI agents Thursday morning.
    There, he faces a two-count federal complaint charging him with
    illegally accessing the New York Times internal network last year. One
    count charges Lamo with computer intrusion; a second with unauthorized
    posession of "access devices." Federal deputy public defender Mary
    French said Monday the access devices refer to passwords for the
    Lexis-Nexis database service allegedly obtained from the Times
    In custody since his surrender Tuesday morning, Lamo appeared in court
    in his street clothes, with his hands cuffed at his waist, and
    listened quietly as Hollows read him his rights. Lamo's mother, Mary
    Lamo, sat at the back of the courtroom.
    Computer Ban
    Following the recommendation of a federal pretrial services officer
    who interviewed the hacker in custody, Hollows ordered Lamo to obtain
    full-time employment or enroll in college pending trial. The ban on
    computer use was the judge's idea.
    "This whole business of computer hacking, viruses and so forth is
    getting very wearisome," said Hollows, explaining his thinking from
    the bench.
    In recent weeks the Blaster computer worm and the latest variant of
    the SoBig virus have wreaked havoc on Windows machines throughout the
    Internet. But virus-writing has little to do with Adrian Lamo.
    The hacker has become famous for publicly exposing gaping security
    holes at large corporations, then volunteering to help the companies
    fix the vulnerabilities he exploited -- sometimes visiting their
    offices or signing non-disclosure agreements in the process. Until
    now, his cooperation and transparency have kept him from being
    In an interview the eve of his surrender, Lamo said he had no regrets.
    "My views may change as this goes on, but I still think this has
    somehow all been worthwhile," said the hacker in a telephone
    interview. "There's no action that I've ever taken that I'm not
    willing to accept the consequences for."
    Lamo appeared at the federal courthouse here at around 9:30 a.m.  
    Pacific time, trailing camera crews from cable network TechTV, and
    TriggerStreet, Kevin Spacey's production company, which is filming a
    documentary on hackers. The TriggerStreet crew has been with Lamo
    since late Thursday, when the hacker learned that the FBI was
    searching for him.
    The 22-year-old was without the backpack that he usually carries,
    containing a change of clothes and the laptop computer with which he's
    hacked some of America's largest corporations. "What backpack?," he
    quipped. "I lost it. It fell off a bridge."
    Lamo's supporters have erected a website at FreeLamo.com to support
    Lamo "and his fight for freedom."
    Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York did not
    return phone calls on the case.
    Lamo's bail conditions could be changed when he appears in New York.
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