Feeds

Pentagon hacker ‘Analyzer’ pleads guilty

Solar Sunrise attacker tops US most frightening list

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Ehud Tenebaum, the Israeli hacker famous as "The Analyzer," has pleaded guilty in Israel to the 1998 attacks on unclassified US Defence Department systems that once touched off alarms at the highest levels of government.

In an appearance late last month before the Magistrate's Court in Kfar Sava, a suburb east of Tel Aviv, the 21-year-old hacker admitted to cracking US and Israeli computers, and plead guilty to conspiracy, wrongful infiltration of computerized material, disruption of computer use and destroying evidence.

Sentencing is set for 13 March, when prosecutors hope to lock up the hacker for at least six months -- the minimum sentence that would make him ineligible for house arrest. "We don't want him to get that privilege, we think that his offences are too serious for that," said Assistant Central District Attorney Or Mamon in a telephone interview.

Tenebaum, now chief technology officer at computer security consultancy 2XS, declined to comment on the plea, except to say that he's hoping to receive probation.

The Tenebaum case began in February, 1998, when dozens of Pentagon systems were suffering what then-US Deputy Defence Secretary John Hamre called "the most organized and systematic attack to date" on US military systems.

Though the attacks exploited a well-known vulnerability in the Solaris operating system for which a patch had been available for months, they came at a time of heightened tension in the Persian Gulf. Hamre and other top officials became convinced that they were witnessing a sophisticated, state-sponsored Iraqi effort to disrupt troop deployment in the Middle East.

A joint task force was hastily assembled among agents of the FBI, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, NASA, the US Department of Justice, the Defence Information Systems Agency, the NSA, and the CIA. The investigation, code-named "Solar Sunrise," eventually snared two California teenagers and Tenebaum.

"This arrest should send a message to would-be computer hackers all over the world that the United States will treat computer intrusions as serious crimes," said attorney general Janet Reno at the time. "We will work around the world and in the depths of cyberspace to investigate and prosecute those who attack computer networks."

Today, defence officials still point to Solar Sunrise as illustrative of the difficulty of separating recreational hack attacks from the state-sponsored cyber assaults they're still certain loom on the horizon. Law enforcement, meanwhile, holds the investigation up as a textbook example of interagency cyber-crime cooperation; the FBI produced an 18-minute training video about the case titled "Solar Sunrise: Dawn of a New Threat," available for $12.28.

The California teens received probation, and, after a brief stint in the military, Tenebaum was indicted under Israeli computer crime laws in February 1999. The case dragged on in the courts until last month's plea agreement. "He already admitted everything to the police," said Mamon. "So the plea bargain didn't get him much."

© 2000 SecurityFocus.com, all rights reserved.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.