Inmate hacked prison network, broke into employee database
Plymouth County's not-so-protected computer
A former prison inmate has been arrested and charged with hacking the facility's computer network, stealing personal details of more than 1,100 prison employees and making them available to fellow inmates.
Francis G. Janosko, 42, gained access to the names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers and telephone numbers of employees working for the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday in US District Court in Boston. Using a thin client that was connected to a prison server, the prisoner was able to access an employee database by exploiting a bug in legal research software made available to inmates.
Once he obtained the personal information of the employees, he made it accessible to other inmates. Janosko also managed to obtain the username and password to a prison management program, and to access the internet to download videos and digital photographs of prison employees, inmates and aerial shots of the prison. The accused hacking took place between October 2006 and February 2007.
"Although the legal research computer server was connected through the prison's network to the internet solely so that it could obtain updates to its Windows operating system, the legal research server was configured to disallow access to the worldwide web," the indictment stated. Computer use was limited to legal research only; use of the internet was forbidden.
Janosko is charged with one count each of aggravated identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He could also be forced to pay unspecified restitution.
According to The Boston Globe, Janosko was arrested in 2005 on child pornography charges after investigators discovered nude photos of children on his cellphone. It was the third time he faced such charges, The Globe reported. He was listed as a Level 3, or high-risk, sex offender in Massachusetts in 2005. ®
"12 years and $250,000 dollars...."
This might be that high because he's a previous offender and seems to have been in and out of nick for long spells already. I honestly don't know for sure but this may not be indicative or typical of what someone else would get for the same type of offence.
But you are right generally, the crimes that do the least damage often are punished much more harshly than generally-accepted horrific crimes where someone is really hurt. See: people going to prison for not paying their poll (re-branded as: Council) tax, speeding - where the odds are millions to one that anyone will get hurt but you can still end up in big trouble and even prison for something that happens every second of every day on almost every road in Britain and yet only a tiny tiny percentage of the time does someone get hurt.
But you can burgle someone's house/car/business property, assault someone, try to kill someone and fail, break into someone's house with a view to continue your stalking of a woman, murder as many people as you like in a foreign country (see: Blair), and it's unlikely the police will even put down their cheese sandwich let alone actually come out and investigate or heaven forbid prosecute. Why bother when new 'criminals' are being caught daily without you having to replace the lid on your thermos?
What with speeders and file-sharers and benefits dodgers, (i.e. often people have to lie to get benefits as telling the truth usually exempts you from qualifying, regardless of the reality of your plight), and 'ultra-dangerous-hackers' like Gary McKinnon, and Charles Menezes...well they've got their hands full with all that, they can't come out if your aunt is assaulted on a bus and has her purse stolen, in broad daylight, on Chiswick high street, oh no...sorry, too busy.
Mmm, true - but there's always the case of malicious users on the local network or even local PC.
When I read the headline of the article, I thought "Someone in Plymouth hacked into another computer? No way man, they're not that bright in Plymouth..I know, I'm from the South West..but escaped and got a degree)..then I realised it was Plymouth County... USA.
Phew..so my theory still holds true ?????