Cracker Charged with Breaking into Systems

According to a statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office in Boston, Ikenna Iffih, 28, has been charged with three counts involving unauthorized access to computers. Investigators, including the FBI and the NASA Office of Criminal Investigations, said that Iffih intentionally caused delays and damage to Web sites and a U.S. Department of Defense computer.

The first count charges Iffih with intentionally intercepting and attempting to intercept log-in names and passwords transmitted to and through a NASA computer. The second count alleges that Iffih gained unauthorized access to a Web site operated by Zebra Marketing Online Services (ZMOS), which he then damaged. Count three asserts that Iffih engaged in willful and malicious interference with a Defense Logistics Agency communications system, including obstructing and delaying the transmission of communications over that system. It's alleged that Iffih committed all of these acts using his home computer in Boston.

"The defendant gained illegal access to several computers, either causing substantial business loss, defacing a Web page with hacker graphics, copying personal information or, in the case of a NASA computer, effectively seizing control," said U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern for the District of Massachusetts in a statement. "All in all, the defendant used his home computer to leave a trail of cybercrime from coast to coast."

A spokesman at the U.S. attorney's office said this afternoon that Iffih, a student at Northeastern University, has not yet been arrested. Iffih's defense attorney could be reached for comment before posting time.

According to the statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office, Iffih is charged with obtaining unauthorized access to a corporate Internet account in April 1999, which he then used to illegally access a computer controlled and operated by the Defense Logistics Agency. Iffih then concealed his actual computer address through a service known as "telnet proxy," which created the appearance that his address was that of the government's computer, the U.S. attorney's office charges.

After masking his address, Iffih accessed and damaged the Web site of Internet service provider ZMOS, based in the state of Washington. ZMOS, which hosts corporate Web pages and provides Internet service for corporate customers, alleges that it suffered a significant loss of business, according to the statement.

The government is charging that from May 1999 until August 1999, Iffih then used the same corporate Internet account to access a NASA computer research project Web server located in Maryland. Iffih seized control of the NASA computer, allowing him to read, delete or modify any files on the system. He then installed a "sniffer'" program onto the system to intercept and save user log-in names and passwords that were transferred over the NASA system, for his own later use. Government attorneys said that the compromised NASA Web server didn't contain classified or sensitive information and wasn't involved in any way with satellite command or control.

The statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office adds that Iffih used the NASA computer as a platform to launch attacks on other computer systems, such as an attack on the U.S. Department of the Interior's Web server, where he defaced its Web page with computer cracker graphics.

The information also alleges that Iffih accessed various computers operated by Northeastern University, from which he illegally copied a file containing the names, dates of birth, addresses and social security numbers of numerous men and women affiliated with the university, including students, faculty, administration and alumni.

Investigators aren't aware of any use or dissemination of this information. According to prosecutors, Northeastern University cooperated fully with investigators on this matter.

If convicted, Iffih faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a fine of $250,000. The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and NASA's Office of Criminal Investigations' Computer Crimes Division, with assistance from agents with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. It's being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison D. Burroughs of Stern's Economic Crimes Unit in Boston.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ann Harrison

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?