A 26-year-old hacker from Texas recently admitted to hacking into a subsidiary of Eden Prairie, Minnesota based Digital River Inc. Digital River Inc. is an e-commerce company and the 26-year-old hacker directed electronic payment transfers away from Digital River accounts to his personal account. The 26-year-old also hacked into NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and accessed oceanographic data being sent from satellites to Earth.
The Texas hacker was in federal court in Saint Paul on Wednesday and pled guilty to the white collar crimeof wire fraud. Between the end of December 2008 and the middle of October 2009, the 26-year-old illegally accessed a computer network belonging to Digital River subsidiary SWReg Inc. SWReg coordinates the payment of independent software developers that work on projects for Digital River. The 26-year-old accessed the accounts of SWReg and directed payments meant for developers to his account. In total, the Texas hacker transferred $274,000 to his personal account. This is not the first time Digital River has been hacked. This past May, Digital River data was accessed by hackers from India and by a 19-year-old hacker from New York.
The Texas hacker also accessed two computer servers used by NASA. The servers were used to store oceanographic information sent from satellites to Earth. The servers do not have any control over satellites but are used by the scientific community to access data. NASA spent $43,000 to repair the breached system. The 26-year-old has not been charged regarding NASA but the facts may play a role in his criminal sentencing in Minnesota.
Source: Star Tribune, “Texan admits hacking NASA, stealing $274K from Digital River subsidiary,” Paul Walsh, 2/24/11