By Austin Modine in Mountain View
12th September 2007
Computer security consultant and convicted cyber intruder Max Butler has
been indicted on counts of wire-fraud and identity theft, just five
years after being released from prison for hacking into military and
defense contractor computers .
Max Butler, 35, of San Francisco (AKA Max Vision, AKA Iceman) was
indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on three counts of wire
fraud and two counts of transferring stolen identify information.
Federal authorities allege that he stole "tens of thousands" of credit
card numbers and personal information by hacking into financial
institutions and credit card processing companies. He could face up to
40 years in prison and a $1.5m fine if convicted of the charges.
Butler was charged in Pittsburgh because he allegedly sold more than 100
credit card numbers to a Pennsylvania resident who cooperated in the
investigation, said a spokeswoman for US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.
The co-conspirator had told investigators he illegally obtained 1,000 or
more credit card numbers a month from Butler.
Authorities also believe Butler operated a website called Cardersmarket,
which served as a forum and aid for credit card thieves, according to
the Associated Press. Butler currently remains in federal custody in
California and will return to Pittsburgh to face the charges.
The indictment alleges that Butler contacted people through email to
sell stolen card numbers. Witnesses told agents that Butler moved to
various hotel rooms where he would use a high-powered antenna to
intercept wireless communications, the AP reports. He would use the
information obtained to hack into the institutions. One witness said
Butler gained access to the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Citibank and
a government employee's computer.
Federal authorities have not yet revealed the exact breadth of the
credit card thievery, or if they plan to alert potential victims.
In May 2001, Butler was sentenced in a federal court after pleading
guilty to launching an automated intrusion program that cracked hundreds
of military and defense contractor computers. Butler admitted to
developing the program, which created a back door on the systems he
penetrated which could have been used to gain access at a later date.
The US Department of Justice's Cyberethics for Kids  page recommends
against these practices:
"Some kids think they can't get into trouble for hacking computer
systems and that hacking big networks like the phone company, the
military, or NASA is harmless fun. But that's not true..."
But gee whiz, I'm really good at computers Mr. Federal Agent.
"If you like computers, don't use your brains to hack systems, invade
other people's privacy, and take away their networks. Hacking can get
you in a whole lot more trouble than you think and is a completely
creepy thing to do."
C-creepy? But maybe I could get a job with computers...
"People are not going to want to hire you to protect computers if you've
been a hacker. It's a question of trust, not skill." **
** Results may vary .
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