Security Breaches

Feds Arrest Suspected E-Mail Hacker

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York have announced the arrest of a man charged with one count of computer fraud in connection with hacking approximately 2,000 e-mails at 75 universities across the country.

“Sitting at a computer more than 2,000 miles away, Jonathan Powell allegedly attempted unauthorized access to more than 2,000 university e-mail accounts,” said William Sweeney, FBI assistant director, in a prepared statement. “Powell used password reset tools to basically pick the lock of thousands of personal spaces and look around at what was stored there.”

Powell was employed by a private business located in Phoenix, AZ. Using a work computer, Powell allegedly targeted a university in New York City, compromising the institution’s confidential information and causing more than $5,000 of loss. Additionally, Powell attempted to access e-mail accounts at more than 75 universities nationwide.

“Powell allegedly stole students’ personal information and searched their photos for potentially embarrassing content,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “This case should serve as a wakeup call for universities and educational institutions around the country.  There is no greater threat to our security and personal privacy than the cyber threat, and hackers must be identified, stopped and punished.”

“Cybercrime victims can be large companies or individual users who have their network or accounts accessed illegally, even if there is no theft,” Sweeney said. “The FBI takes seriously any allegations of intrusions, and we will continue to hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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