Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hacker Sentenced

The Associated Press reports that a hacker, who broke into computers of eBay and Qualcomm and stole information, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight months in prison plus eight months of house arrest and cannot use a computer with an internet connection for three years without permission of his parole officer. Link.
Heckenkamp admitted breaking into San Jose-based eBay’s computers in February and March 1999, defacing a Web page and installing malicious programs that captured usernames and passwords that he used to gain access to other eBay computers.

Heckenkamp also admitted he broke into San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc.’s computers in late 1999 and installing more so-called “Trojan” programs. At the time, he was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. [...]

In the sentence, the judge also considered losses from other companies’ computers Heckenkamp was charged with accessing. They include Exodus Communications, Juniper Networks, Lycos, and Cygnus Solutions.

Hacking is not just innocent fun. It is the Internet equivalent of breaking and entering, plus burglary if information is stolen. The Internet was designed to be open for the easy exchange of information. Security was not a factor in its initial construction. Now that it is filled with commercial networks that contain credit card numbers and other personal data on people, security has to be a serious concern.

We can all marvel at the cleverness of successful and original hackers , but that is no different from our marveling at the thieves in good caper movies. At the end of a good caper movie, the clever thieves are caught and imprisoned, and that is as it should be with hackers as well.


  • Ebay has revolutionised the attitude of millions to buying on line. Yet, perhaps not surprisingly, the vast majority of material online is all about selling. Not surprising because that is where the money is made.

    In my own little way I am trying to redress the balance. Please take a look at my ebay buying blog ebay auctions and let me know what you think

    By Anonymous Barry White, at 9:15 AM  

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