Ex-hacker convicted of stealing computer power to mine cryptocurrency and stealing personal information of over 100 million people | USAO-WDWA

Seattle – A 37-year-old former Seattle tech worker was sentenced today in the U.S. District Court in Seattle to time served and 5 years probation, including tracking and computer monitoring, for seven federal crimes related to his scheme to hack into cloud computer data storage accounts. and stealing data and computing power for its own benefit, U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. Paige A. Thompson aka “erratic” was arrested in July 2019, after Capital One alerted the FBI to Thompson’s hacking activity. A federal jury found her guilty in June 2022, following a seven-day trial. During the sentencing hearing, US District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said the time in prison would be particularly difficult for Ms Thompson due to her mental health and transgender status.

“While we understand the mitigating factors, we are very disappointed with the court’s sentencing decision. That’s not what justice looks like,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. “Ms. Thompson’s hack and theft of information from 100 million people has caused more than $250 million in damages to businesses and individuals. Her cybercrimes have created anxiety among millions of people who are rightly concerned about their private information. This conduct deserves greater punishment.

Thompson was convicted of wire fraud, five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer, and damaging a protected computer.

Using Thompson’s own words in texts and online chats, prosecutors showed how Thompson used a tool she designed to scan Amazon Web Services accounts to look for misconfigured accounts. She then used these misconfigured accounts to hack into and download the data of over 30 entities, including Capital One bank. With some of her illegal access, she installed cryptocurrency mining software on new servers, with the mining proceeds going to her online wallet. Thompson spent hundreds of hours advancing his scheme and bragged about his illegal conduct to others via text messages or online forums.

Asking the court to impose a seven-year sentence, prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum: “…Thompson’s crimes…were fully intentional and based on spite, revenge, and willful disregard of the law.” She showed a smug sense of superiority and sheer glee in committing these crimes…. Thompson was driven to make money at the expense of others, to prove she was smarter than the people she hacked, and to earn bragging rights in the hacker community.

“I’m proud of how quickly our Cyber ​​Task Force worked together to recover victims’ personal information and prevent further harm,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “This case is a good example of why businesses and individuals who believe their data has been stolen online should contact the FBI immediately.”

Judge Lasnik has scheduled a hearing for December 1, 2022 to determine how much restitution Thompson should pay his victims.

The case was investigated by the FBI Seattle Cyber ​​Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Friedman, Jessica Manca and Tania Culbertson.

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