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Teen first to serve hacking time

NASA hacker gets six months

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the first instance of a convicted juvenile hacker having to serve time for acts of juvenile delinquency.

The 16-year-old Miami, Florida resident pleaded guilty to hacking crimes and is to serve six months in a detention facility for his offences.

Going by the name "cOmrade" on the Internet, in a U.S. District Court in Miami the young man owned up to a number of computer intrusions dating from 23 August 1999 to 27 October 1999.

He made his way into a military computer network used by the U.S. Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). "cOmrade" also managed to gain unauthorised access to a server located in Dulles, Virginia, and installed backdoor access to the server, according to a DOJ statement.

The backdoor program collected over 3,300 messages distributed by DTRA staff. In addition, the hacker found a way to discover at least 19 user names and passwords of the computer accounts of DTRA employees - 10 of which resided on military computers, the DOJ said.

The Miami hacker, whose real-world identity was not released, also accessed 13 NASA computers located at the Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama.

He retrieved and downloaded proprietary software from NASA worth around £1 million. NASA uses the software to support the International Space Station's physical environment. Computer systems at NASA were forcibly put out of business for 21 days in July of 1999 to deal with the security breaches.

The hacker will also write letters of apology to the U.S. Department of Defence and NASA as part of his punishment. He agreed to the public disclosure of all information surrounding the case.

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