Feeds

Accused Ebay hacker on electronic leash

Judge sends Heckenkamp home with modifications

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Until he goes to trial in March, the only sophisticated electronics in accused eBay hacker Jerome Heckenkamp's life will be the monitoring bracelet bolted to his ankle, under a court order issued Tuesday clearing the way for his release.



In a hearing in federal court in San Jose, Calif., U.S. magistrate Patricia Trumble reestablished bail for the imprisoned computer whiz at $50,000, but imposed a new set of restrictions on his release. Heckenkamp will remain prohibited from using cell phones and the Internet, and is now also banned from accessing or owning a computer, even without an Internet connection.

Trumble carved out exceptions for ATMs, point of sale terminals, and some other computerized conveniences, while explicitly banning others, including video games and fax machines.

In handing down the order, Trumble said Heckencamp's recent court appearances gave her pause.

Heckencamp, 22, had been free on bail until January 18th, when he unexpectedly fired attorney Jennifer Granick, and in an impromptu hour-long hearing persuaded the reluctant Trumble to rescind his $50,000 bail, so that the money could be returned to the friend who posted it on his behalf. Heckenkamp was immediately taken into custody at his own request. He later rehired Granick.

"I'm concerned about these events," said Trumble, at Tuesday's hearing. "I have no idea what's going on in this young man's head."

In an interview at the Santa Clara County Jail last week, Heckenkamp told SecurityFocus that his actions were aimed at relieving his friend from the financial burden of the bond, and were also prompted by growing frustration over the slow pace of his criminal case, and the ongoing restrictions that conditioned his release. "As long as I was out on bond, I didn't feel free anyway," said Heckenkamp. "And I can't work on my case properly with the computer restrictions."

Electronic Monitoring

Last week, Heckenkamp's pre-trial supervisor claimed that an FBI search of Heckenkamp's computer hard drive following his detention turned up evidence of Internet use. Heckenkamp's father, Thomas Heckenkamp, flew in from Wisconsin to testify at Tuesday's hearing that it was him, and not his son, who went online, but the matter was dropped when prosecutor Ross Nadel told the court that he didn't oppose Heckencamp's re-release under the tighter restrictions.

The senior Heckencamp said he would post the bail through a bail bondsman.

If Heckencamp found his pre-trial restrictions onerous two weeks ago, they've only gotten worse. In addition to the new computer restrictions, Heckencamp will be permitted to leave his San Jose home only in accordance with a schedule established by his pre-trial release supervisor, with his comings and goings tracked by an electronic monitoring system.

The monitoring system used by the federal judiciary works something like a cordless phone. It consists of a tamper-resistant radio transmitter that's clamped over the defendant's ankle, with a stationary receiver plugged into his home telephone line (which must not have call forwarding). The receiver keeps a log of every occasion the transmitter moves into or out of its 150 foot range. The log is polled automatically by a central monitoring company under contract with the U.S. courts, and the results made available to the defendant's pre-trial release supervisor.

A former network engineer at Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico, Heckenkamp lost his job in January, 2001, when prosecutors charged him with defacing eBay under the hacker handle MagicFX in 1999, while a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. He's also charged with penetrating computers belonging to Lycos, Exodus Communications, Juniper Networks, E-Trade Group and Cygnus Support Solutions. Heckenkamp says he's innocent on all counts. His trial is set for 19 March.

© 2001 SecurityFocus.com, all rights reserved.

Related Stories

Ebay hacking case gets weird
Accused eBay hacker volunteered for jail
Nuke plant worker faces hacking charges

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.