Feeds

How the Feds shook hands with an internet pedophile

Crime and punishment in the digital age

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The Flyers

The #ssgroup leaders grew increasing desperate. They didn't yet know much about Digerati, other than he was using the University of Pennsylvania computer system for internet access. Incredulous that university authorities didn't respond to three separate warnings that one of their students was using their computer system to prey on young boys, they decided to make their case publicly.

Members of the group hacked into one of the websites Digerati was using to host his webcam chats. They copied images and excerpts from the chats and transferred them to a flyer headlined "Internet child predator." One of the members then hacked the university's print servers and caused the flyer to spontaneously print on hundreds of machines across campus.

Around the same time, the group also hacked into the university's internal email system and siphoned thousands of emails in an attempt to learn more about Digerati. They hit the jackpot. Not only did they discover that the hacker was a student named Ryan Goldstein, they also learned he was under suspicion for a computer breach in February 2006 that brought down a server at the university's SEAS, or School of Engineering & Applied Science.

As they sifted through the messages, it became clear that school administrators had taken notice of the mysterious flyer and were considering whether Goldstein was guilty of more than just hacking the SEAS server.

Among the administrators was Helen Anderson, a senior director in the SEAS IT group.

"Though the flyers themselves apparently weren't his doing, they may be evidence that there was a separate conduct violation by Ryan at Kings Court," Anderson wrote in a group email, referring to the dorm building where Goldstein lived.

Anderson's message was part of 245 pages of investigation-related email that was posted on the internet. University officials declined to comment on the breach, but an FBI spokesman confirmed the authenticity of several of the messages. University officials also denied requests to discuss whether Goldstein breached the university's code of conduct. (He is currently attending classes at the Philadelphia-based college).

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Next page: The Feds

More from The Register

next story
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
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
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.