Feeds

Ethical hacker faces war driving charges

Houston, we have a problem

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A Houston computer security analyst has been charged with hacking after demonstrating the insecurity of a county courts wireless LAN.

Stefan Puffer, 33, was indicted by a Grand Jury on Wednesday with two counts of fraud for allegedly breaking into Harris County district clerk's wireless computer system. It's believed to be the first case of its kind in the US.

Puffer, who was employed briefly by the county's technology department in 1999, could get five years in jail and faces a $250,000 fine on each count if convicted, the Houston Chronicle reports.

He's accused of accessing the system March 8 in an alleged intrusion that cost the county a reported $5,000 to clean up.

District Clerk Charles Bacarisse told the paper that no confidential information was disclosed but the alleged intrusion eventually resulted in the county closing its wireless LAN only a month after it was activated.

But is the prosecution a case of shooting the messenger?

On March 18, Puffer demonstrated to a county official and a Chronicle reporter how easy it was to gain access to the court's system using only a laptop computer and a wireless LAN card.

Puffer first noticed the problem while scanning for insecure 802.11 networks throughout Houston earlier that month, around the time that the alleged offence took place. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.