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US man faces five years for hacking supervisor's PC

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A former federal computer security expert faces a possible five year jail term after pleading guilty to hacking a US Department of Education computer. Kenneth Kwak, 34, of Chantilly, Virginia, admitted snooping on his supervisor's email and internet surfing activities while employed as a system auditor for the US Department of Education.

Kwak placed unspecified software on his boss's computer that allowed him to access files on the system without permission. He shared snippets gleaned from his repeated spying forays with colleagues around the office. In a statement the DoJ said: "Kwak carried out his crime and invaded his supervisor's privacy for personal entertainment; there is no indication he profited financially from his actions."

As part of a plea bargaining agreement, Kwak pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorised access to a protected computer during a hearing in the District of Columbia federal court before US District Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday. He faces a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of $250,000 over the offence. Sentencing has been set for 12 May.

The case was investigated by the Computer Crime Investigations Division of the Department of Education's Inspector General's Office. Kwak's prosecution was carried as part of the "zero-tolerance policy" recently adopted by the US Attorney's office over computer hacking offences. ®

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