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A former student has been charged with installing secret keystroke monitoring software on "dozens of computers" on the Boston College campus to harvest personal data on thousands of University computer users.

Douglas Boudreau, 21, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was yesterday indicted by a Middlesex County, Massachusetts grand jury on six counts of interception of wire communications, eight counts of unauthorized access to a computer system, two counts each of larceny over $250 and identity fraud. To cap that he's also charged with breaking and entering, as well as one count each of stealing from a building and distributing counterfeit movies and television shows.

The indictments allege that beginning in April 2002, Boudreau, a senior computer science major, secretly installed keystroke-monitoring software on more than 100 computers around the BC campus. The software allegedly allowed Boudreau to monitor every keystroke entered on those computers, which were mostly located in public areas.

Using the software, Boudreau allegedly was able to watch as faculty, students and staff sent e-mails, downloaded files and engaged in online banking. As a result, Boudreau allegedly compiled a database of personal identifying information of approximately 4,800 members of the Boston College community, including computer passwords, confidential access codes to college buildings, credit card and Social Security numbers of 685.

Boudreau allegedly used some of the stolen information to re-code his own "Eagle card," the identification card issued to all members of the Boston College community that is also used as a campus debit card and controls access to buildings on site.

Using this scheme, Boudreau is alleged to have stolen approximately $2,000 in goods and services charging books receipts, meals and even laundry expenses on other students' accounts.

After discovering Boudreau's alleged crimes, Boston College's Information Technology staff have taken steps to secure the breach and prevent any repetition. Those affected by the alleged fraud have been notified and all members of the college community were issued with new personal identification numbers and Eagle cards.

Boudreau was suspended and the matter taken up by Boston College Police, who have referred the case to the Attorney General's Office.

Assistant Attorney General John Grossman, chief of the state's Corruption, Fraud and Computer Crimes Division has been placed in charge of prosecuting the case.

According to campus staff interviewed by CNet's Declan McCullagh, the extent of Boudreau's fraud has been exaggerated by the authorities in an attempt to give his prosecution a higher profile. Authorities are trying to turn the prosecution into a test case on the misuse of keyboard logging technology, McCullagh reports.

Boudreau's arraignment is scheduled for February 25. ®

External Links

Statement on the case by The Office of Massachusetts Attorney General

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