Hacker Sentenced in New York City for Hacking into Two NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Computers Located in Pasadena, California
MARY JO WHITE, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of
New York, announced that RAYMOND TORRICELLI, a/k/a "rolex,"
the head of a hacker group known as "#conflict," was sentenced
today to four months in prison and four months of home confinement for,
among other things, breaking into two computers owned and maintained by
the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations Jet Propulsion
Laboratory ("JPL"), located in Pasadena, California, and using
one of those computers to host an Internet chat-room devoted to hacking.
Chief United States District Judge MICHAEL B. MUKASEY also ordered TORRICELLI
to pay a $4,400 in restitution to NASA.
At his plea to five separate charges on December 1, 2000, TORRICELLI admitted that, in 1998, he was a computer hacker, and a member of a hacking organization known as "#conflict." TORRICELLI admitted that, operating from his residence in New Rochelle, New York, he used his personal computer to run programs designed to search the Internet, and seek out computers which were vulnerable to intrusion. Once such computers were located, TORRICELLI's computer obtained unauthorized access to the computers by uploading a program known as "rootkit." According to the Complaint, "rootkit" is a program which, when run on computer, allows a hacker to gain complete access to all of a computer's functions without having been granted these privileges by the authorized users of that computer.
According to the Information and Complaint, one of the computers TORRICELLI accessed was used by NASA to perform satellite design and mission analysis concerning future space missions, another was used by JPLs Communications Ground Systems Section as an e-mail and internal web server. According to the Complaint, and his plea allocution, after gaining this unauthorized access to computers and loading "rootkit," TORRICELLI under his alias "rolex," used many of the computers to host chat-room discussions.
According to the Complaint, TORRICELLI admitted that, in these discussions, he invited other chat participants to visit a website which enabled them to view pornographic images and that he earned 18 cents for each visit a person made to that website. According to the Complaint, TORRICELLI earned approximately $300-400 from per week from this activity.
TORRICELLI also pled guilty to intercepting usernames and passwords traversing the computer networks of a computer owned by San Jose State University.
In addition, TORRICELLI pled guilty to possession of stolen passwords and usernames which he used to gain free Internet access, or to gain unauthorized access to still more computers. According to the Complaint, TORRICELLI admitted that when he obtained passwords which were encrypted, he would use a password cracking program known as"John-the-Ripper" to decrypt the passwords.
In addition, TORRICELLI pled guilty to possessing stolen credit card numbers, he admitted obtaining from other individuals and stored them on his computer. TORRICELLI admitted that he used one such credit card number to purchase long distance telephone service.
According to the Complaint, much of the evidence obtained against TORRICELLI was obtained through a search of his personal computer. According to the Complaint, in addition to thousands of stolen passwords and numerous credit card numbers, investigators found transcripts of chat-room discussions in which TORRICELLI and members of "#conflict" discussed, among other things, (1) breaking into other computers (a practice known as "hacking"); (2) obtaining credit card numbers belonging to other persons and using those numbers to make unauthorized purchases (a practice known as "carding"); and (3) using their computers to electronically alter the results of the annual MTV Movie Awards.
Ms. WHITE praised the investigative efforts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Computer Crimes Division; the New Rochelle, New York, Police Department; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
TORRICELLI, 20, lives in the New Rochelle, New York.
Assistant United States Attorney JOSEPH V. De MARCO is in charge of the prosecution.
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