A former Amazon engineer who was accused of stealing clients’ private data from Capital One in one of many largest breaches in the United States was discovered responsible of wire fraud and hacking expenses on Friday.
A Seattle jury discovered that Paige Thompson, 36, had violated an anti-hacking legislation often known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which forbids entry to a pc with out authorization. The jury discovered her not responsible of id theft and entry system fraud.
Ms. Thompson had labored as a software program engineer and ran an internet group for different staff in her trade. In 2019, she downloaded private data 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 corporations to allow them to be mounted.
But the Justice Department stated 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 Department stated.
“She needed knowledge, she needed cash, and she or he needed to brag,” Andrew Friedman, an assistant U.S. lawyer, stated in closing arguments.
Ms. Thompson’s case attracted consideration from the tech trade due to the fees beneath the Computer 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. Last month, the Justice Department advised 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, in addition to the wire fraud expenses. 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 stated Capital One lacked the safety measures it wanted to guard clients’ data. In 2020, the financial institution agreed to pay $80 million to settle these claims. In December, it additionally agreed to pay $190 million to folks whose knowledge had been uncovered in the breach.
“Ms. Thompson used her hacking abilities to steal the private data of greater than 100 million folks, and hijacked pc servers to mine cryptocurrency,” stated Nicholas W. Brown, the U.S. lawyer for the Western District of Washington, in an announcement. “Far from being an moral hacker making an attempt to assist corporations with their pc safety, she exploited errors to steal priceless knowledge and sought to complement herself.”