Feeds

Man infects college PCs to steal huge database

Uni president targeted in brazen attack

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A former college student has admitted taking part in a criminal scheme that used malware to steal and sell large databases of faculty and alumni, change grades, and siphon funds from other students' accounts.

Daniel J. Fowler, 21, of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty in federal court there to computer hacking conspiracy and computer intrusion, according to prosecutors. Charges against Fowler's alleged accomplice, 27-year-old Joseph A. Camp, are pending, according to court documents, which indicate his trial is scheduled for October 24. Camp has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to an indictment filed in November, Fowler and Camp developed malware and installed it on the computers of students, faculty and staff at the University of Central Missouri using a variety of strategies. Ruses included the offer to show vacation photos contained on a thumb drive and manually installing it on public PCs. The malware contained a backdoor that allowed them to capture passwords used to access restricted parts of the university network and to spy on computer users through their webcams.

Prosecutors said the duo managed to install the malware on at least one university administrator's computer and also succeeded in stealing the login credentials of a residence hall director. Eventually, they used their unauthorized access to conduct fraudulent financial transactions in which they transferred funds into accounts they controlled. They also attempted to sell a database of personal information they stole, according to court documents.

They also attempted to change grades, prosecutors said

In one of the most brazen attempts, Camp is accused of approaching an administrative assistant in the office of the university's president and handing her a thumb drive that stored the malicious software. Camp then said the drive contained documents from his attorney that he wanted the president to see and instructed her to insert it into her computer. The assistant refused.

Even after their arrest by campus police, the conspiracy continued, prosecutors allege. After learning a trusted colleague turned on him, Fowler posted a message to Facebook threatening that the informant would “suffer the media attention” once a trial was underway. Fowler later told someone he trusted he posted the message "to scare the girl that talked."

Camp, for his part, told an accomplice “the cops were dumb to bust us so quick” and “if they knew the scope of this, they would have involved the feds,” according to the indictment.

When they were apprehended, authorities found Camp in possession of the Spector Pro and Poison Ivy keylogging programs and the username and password of a pilfered university staff member written on a piece of paper in his pocket, prosecutors said.

Fowler faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, a fine of $500,000, and an order to pay restitution. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

A PDF of the indictment is here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.