A 20yearold California man is being charged in hacking incidents involving NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and several university computers
A man charged with hacking into government computers is being held in a
federal jail in Los Angeles.
Jason Diekman, a 20-year-old resident of Mission Viejo, Calif., is being
charged in hacking incidents involving NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and computers at Stanford, Harvard and Cornell universities.
The complaint against Diekman includes charges that he used the JPL's
computers to intercept electronic communication. He allegedly had access
to the NASA systems that control a number of NASA satellites.
He also is charged with causing more than $17,000 in damage to Stanford
computers, intercepting log-in names and passwords from Harvard computers,
and possessing nearly 500 stolen credit card numbers.
Diekman, who used the online aliases "Shadow Knight" and "Dark Lord,"
is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 2.
If convicted for hacking, Diekman could face as many as 26 years in
prison, as well as fines up to $750,000.
Diekman's arrest came just one day after a 16-year-old Miami hacker
pleaded guilty to illegally accessing government computers and agreed to
serve jail time.
These incidents have focused attention, once again, on the security
of the Internet.
There are only three or four techniques used in most hacks, said Alan
Paller, the director of research for the Systems Administration, Networking,
and Security Institute, in Bethesda, Md.
These techniques exploit security holes in common software. One vulnerability,
Paller said, is found in 21 percent of all name servers on the Internet
(the computers that translate IP addresses into URLs). The second, a flaw
in the Apache Web server, is found in 65 percent of all Web servers, according
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