Ex-Amazon Employee Convicted in Capital One Hacking

A former Amazon engineer who was accused of stealing clients’ private info from Capital One in one of many largest breaches in america was discovered responsible of wire fraud and hacking fees on Friday.

A Seattle jury discovered that Paige Thompson, 36, had violated an anti-hacking legislation referred to as the Pc Fraud and Abuse Act, which forbids entry to a pc with out authorization. The jury discovered her not responsible of identification theft and entry system fraud.

Ms. Thompson had labored as a software program engineer and ran a web-based neighborhood for different employees in her business. In 2019, she downloaded private info belonging to greater than 100 million Capital One clients. Her authorized workforce argued that she had used the identical instruments and strategies as moral hackers who hunt for software program vulnerabilities and report them to firms to allow them to be fastened.

However the Justice Division mentioned that Ms. Thompson had by no means deliberate to alert Capital One to the issues that gave her entry to clients’ knowledge, and that she had bragged to her on-line mates concerning the vulnerabilities she uncovered and the knowledge she downloaded. Ms. Thompson additionally used her entry to Capital One’s servers to mine cryptocurrency, the Justice Division mentioned.

“She needed knowledge, she needed cash, and she or he needed to brag,” Andrew Friedman, an assistant US lawyer, mentioned in closing arguments.

Ms. Thompson’s case attracted consideration from the tech business due to the fees beneath the Pc Fraud and Abuse Act. Critics of the legislation have argued that it’s too broad and permits for the prosecution of so-called white hat hackers. Final month, the Justice Division informed prosecutors that they need to now not use the legislation to pursue hackers who engaged in “good-faith safety analysis.”

The jury deliberated for 10 hours earlier than discovering Ms. Thompson responsible of 5 counts of gaining unauthorized entry to a protected pc and damaging a protected pc, along with the wire fraud fees. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 15.

A lawyer for Ms. Thompson declined to touch upon the decision.

Capital One found the breach in July 2019 after a girl who had spoken with Ms. Thompson concerning the knowledge reported the issue to Capital One. Capital One handed the knowledge to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Ms. Thompson was arrested quickly after.

Regulators mentioned Capital One lacked the safety measures it wanted to guard clients’ info. In 2020, the financial institution agreed to pay $80 million to settle these claims. In December, it additionally agreed to pay $190 million to individuals whose knowledge had been uncovered within the breach.

“Ms. Thompson used her hacking expertise to steal the non-public info of greater than 100 million individuals, and hijacked pc servers to mine cryptocurrency,” mentioned Nicholas W. Brown, the US lawyer for the Western District of Washington, in an announcement. “Removed from being an moral hacker attempting to assist firms with their pc safety, she exploited errors to steal beneficial knowledge and sought to complement herself.”

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