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March 2003

Your're caught: Examining punsihment for cybercrime

No Quarter For Hackers It's said that tragedies bring out the best and worst in people. The space shuttle Columbia tragedy brought out the worst in Trippin Smurfs. The hacker gang that boasts owning scores of NASA boxes chose the day of the Columbia crash--Feb. 1--to hit at least 10 Jet Propulsion Lab servers and deface numerous NASA Web sites with protests about the looming war with Iraq. The incident had nothing to do with the shuttle disaster, but, as one security observer noted, there will be little sympathy for this crew if they're ever brought to justice. What can the Trippin Smurfs gang expect if they ever see the inside of a courtroom? They could try asking Brian T. Ferguson. The 43-year-old Pittsburgh man expects no quarter from a federal court when he's sentenced next month for hacking the AOL account of New York Common Pleas Court Judge Kim D. Eaton. Observers expect Ferguson will receive the maximum three-year sentence from a federal judge who will likely show sympathy toward his robed colleague. Need another example...

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