Security consultant charged with computer crimes

1 October 2003 The head of a security consulting company has been arrested and charged with computer crimes after demonstrating to journalists the inadequate security of US government and military computer systems.

The flaws were publicised in August last year when Brett Edward O’Keefe, the president of Forensic Tec, a small San Diego, California-based security consultancy, told the Washington Post how easy it was to break into the systems.

“Yes, it was a risk for us to come forward, but if we didn’t, who’s to say the next person to come across these networks would do the right thing,” O’Keefe told Reuters at the time.


However, the authorities were less impressed with the stunt.

“The object [of the intrusions was] to obtain unauthorised access to government and private sector computers and copy computer files with the hope that this activity would make money by bringing in new clients and creating public visibility for the company,” states the indictment.

The company’s co-founder Aljosa Medvesek was also arrested last week and has already pleaded guilty after reaching a plea-bargain with prosecutors.

  • Symantec’s latest threat report indicates a continuing increase in the sophistication and seriousness of cyber attacks, with the number of reported hacks increasing by one-fifth in the first half of the year alone.

    Trends highlighted by the computer security software vendor include :

    • 1,432 new vulnerabilities uncovered , up 12%;
    • a 400% increase in attacks via instant messaging and peer-to-peer applications;
    • four-fifths of attacks are sourced to just ten countries, including the US, China, Germany and South Korea, with the UK 7th placed;
    • 64% of attacks targeted vulnerabilities less than a year old;
    • attack activity decreases over the weekend, with the peak period between 1pm and 10pm, GMT.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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