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Hacker charged with threatening US VP using neighbour's PC

Frame-up alleged

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A hacker tried to frame his neighbour by tapping into his Wi-Fi and sending threatening emails to US vice president Joe Biden, according to search warrant affidavits unsealed last week.

Computer expert Barry Ardolf, 45, is charged with using someone else's computer to send a threatening email to Biden. However, the affidavits reveal years of disputes between Ardolf and neighbours from different areas he's lived in.

Ardolf, of Blaine, Minneapolis, had been using his tech skills to harass his current neighbours, according to the affidavits filed by FBI Special Agent Robert Cameron. As well as the Biden emails, he's alleged to have sent indecent images of children to his neighbour's work colleagues, using fake email accounts he'd set up in the neighbours' name. He's also alleged to have stolen personal information and sent offensive messages.

This is an example of his email style. "I was thinking of you on Valentines Day. I wouldn't mind at all if you wanted to sneak me a kiss when nobody is looking. Remember what Bill Clinton finally fessed up to? I want that from you!"

The neighbour also had a MySpace page set up in his name that also contained child pornography, and asked whether there were "any ladies looking for a good time, I'm married but my spouse bites big time".

The threat to Biden read, in part: "This is a terrorist threat! Take this seriously. I hate the way you people are spending money you don't have ... I'm assigning myself to be judge, jury and executioner. Since you folks have spent what you don't have, it's time to pay the ultimate price."

Fed investigators chased the messages to Ardolf by tracing devices tapping into his neighbours' Wi-Fi. This led to the FBI seizing multiple computers, hard drives and routers following a search of Ardolf's home in July 2009. Social Security numbers, dates of birth, income information and the address for Ardolf's former neighbours where he lived several years ago were found.

Ardolf was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of threats to the president and successors to the presidency. He is scheduled to appear in federal court this week. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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