By JAY STAPLETON
March 08, 2007
DAYTONA BEACH -- When men from across the country hacked into a local
police department computer to get personal information, they didn't
expect to get tripped up by detectives who watch every penny.
The group of computer-savvy criminals who used a Trojan Horse virus to
break into a Port Orange Police Department computer to gather personal
information on a national crime fighting database has been ordered to
pay back money for services they charged.
Some of the young men involved also used computers to get information on
celebrities including Paris Hilton and California Gov. Arnold
Schwartzenegger, according to news reports.
Justin A. Perras, 19, Timothy McKeage, 21, Jason D. Hawks, 24, Zachary
W. Mann, 19, and Jeffrey R. Weinberg, 21, were ordered by a federal
judge in West Palm Beach to stay away from computers. With a mix of
prison or probation and community service as punishment for their pleas
to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and identity theft, the five were
ordered to pay $105,750 in restitution to database owner LexisNexis and
Port Orange police, court records show.
"It's nice to see people will be held responsible," said Lt. Frank
Surmaczewicz, who oversees the detective division in Port Orange. He was
pleased his department will get back it's share of $1,905 in database
charges and computer security costs.
Perras, of New Bedford, Mass., was sentenced Monday to a year in prison,
to be followed by three years probation and 100 hours of community
service. The others were sentenced in December to lesser prison
sentences, or probation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The breach to the Port Orange police computer used in criminal
investigations occurred between January and March 2005, court records
show. McKeage, of Rhode Island, used a program to hack into the computer
and infect it with a virus. He then used his unauthorized access in the
department's database account to obtain user names and passwords used to
create new usernames to access the database. The information was then
shared with the others.
The men used the Accurint law enforcement database owned by LexisNexis
to obtain information on more than a dozen people from around the
country, including addresses, dates of birth and Social Security
The Washington Post reported last summer that interviews with three of
the men revealed they obtained information on Hilton, Schwarzenegger and
actors Laurence Fishburne and Demi Moore.
Perras told the Post there was no malicious intent. "We were just a
bunch of kids goofing around," he said.
Surmaczewicz said officers here quickly recognized unusual activity in
their database account, including more charges being billed to them than
normal, and took action.
One red flag was that information was being obtained on people who had
nothing to do with any of their investigations. "Once we knew it was
someone from the outside, working in, that's when the Secret Service was
Visit the InfoSec News Security Bookstore