Notorious Computer Hacker Indicted

Dan Kohn (
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 20:32:10 -0700

Friday September 27 6:03 PM EDT=20

Notorious Computer Hacker Indicted

LOS ANGELES (Reuter) - One of America's most notorious computer
"hackers" has been indicted on charges of carrying out a 2 1/2-year
spree of software thefts that cost big corporations millions of dollars,
authorities said Friday.=20

Kevin Mitnick, a 33-year-old computer wizard, was charged Thursday with
25 counts under an indictment that accused him of breaking into the
systems of software companies and attacking computers of Internet
service providers.=20

Mitnick, already awaiting sentencing on an earlier charge of cellular
phone fraud, could face up to 200 years of jail time if convicted,
authorities said.=20

For years Mitnick has been an expert at writing "hacking" programs which
allow him to gain access to even the most heavily guarded computer

Using the code name "Condor", Mitnick eluded investigators for 2 1/2
years and was eventually caught in February in Raleigh, North Carolina,
after authorities enlisted the help of computer security expert Tsutomu

Shimomura, who employed high-tech methods to track the fugitive, later
wrote a book with New York Times reporter John Markoff about his role in
the manhunt titled "Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick,
America's Most Wanted Computer Outlaw - By the Man Who Did It."=20

The interstate investigation involved a multi-agency task force that
included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue
Service and the Department of Justice.=20

Lewis Depayne, 36, was also charged in the indictment.=20

The two were indicted on charges that include wire fraud, impersonating
company employees to gain access to computers and using "clone" cellular
phones and damaging computers at the University of Southern California.=20

"The statutes provide for sentences in excess of 200 years," said
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schindler. "A judge will have to decide
what criteria apply and ultimately that sentence will be a matter of
years but it's impossible to calculate."=20

The problem of "hacking" has mushroomed in recent years as the Internet
has brought more and more computers on-line.=20

"It's a growing problem and the Department of Justice is willing to go
to extraordinary measures to combat the problem," Schindler said.=20

Mitnick pleaded guilty in April to one federal count of cellular phone
fraud and violating his parole from an earlier computer fraud

That case concerned his activities between January and February of 1995
in North Carolina while the latest set of indictments alleged a set of
crimes committed between June 1992 and February 1995.=20

Previous Story: Rwanda Genocide Suspect Held in Texas Jail=20
Next Story: Airport Anti-Terror Measures Stall in Senate=20
[ Index | News | World | Biz | Tech | Politic | Sport | Scoreboard |
Entertain | Health ]=20

Copyright =A9 1996 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication =
redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited
without the written consent of Reuters Limited=20
Comments to: