Feeds

Man invades .mil nets, tells hacks, lands in jail

Putting bragging rights to wrongs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A computer security consultant who broke into US military networks to demonstrate their vulnerability to attack by cyber-terrorists or hostile governments was arrested in San Diego yesterday.

Brett Edward O'Keefe, 36, president of California start-up ForensicTec Solutions, faces charges of breaking into computers run by the Navy, the Army, the US Department of Energy, NASA and several private companies. He has been charged with six felony offences punishable by sentences of up to 30 years in prison, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Prior to his arrest, O'Keefe bragged to reporters that he cracked into military networks to demonstrate how insecure they were, despite government rhetoric about increased security precautions introduced since the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks.

ForensicTec Solutions is trying to sell its security services to government, and O'Keefe used the alleged insecurities unearthed by his campaign to promote the company.

"All I wanted to do was to show America how weak our computer defences are," O'Keefe allegedly said. "My hope was that, if I embarrassed the government, they would tighten up their precautions."

O'Keefe claims his company stumbled across an easy way to break into military computers while working for a private client. ForensicTec workers allegedly downloaded military crypto programs from sensitive government computers, among other things.

Assistant US Attorney John Parmley told the LA Times that O'Keefe would have done better to pass on concerns about the insecurity of government computers without "hacking" into them.

"It's like going down the street and jiggling doors to see if they're open," Parmley said. "That's one thing. But if you go and start taking things, that's different."

O'Keefe is charged with conspiracy to gain unauthorised access to government, military and private sector computers and of seeking to profit from breaking into these networks. Two ForensicTec employees, Aljosa Medvesek and Margaret Ann Lauffer, have reportedly agreed to testify against O'Keefe. Each pleaded guilty to a single charge of unauthorized access to governmental computers last week.

O'Keefe is being held in custody pending arraignment in a US District Court later today (September 30). ®

External Link

Hacker Arrested in San Diego, by LA Times (registration required)

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.