Kiwi disputes damage caused in hacking case

A 36-year-old Dunedin, New Zealand, man who has admitted breaking into the computer system of an American company will argue about just how much damage he caused in a special hearing.

More than $US450,000 worth of reparation is being sought for the damage caused to an Oregon-based e-commerce company, BuyMusicHere, but the man's lawyer Judith Ablett-Kerr disputes the extent of the damage and the number of attacks.

The man, who was granted name suppression in the Dunedin District Court on Thursday, pleaded guilty to two charges of interfering with a computer system and one charge of causing data to be deleted.

Police told the court that the man was a former employee of BuyMusicHere. The company's computer systems were attacked nine times over three weeks late last year. Police said data was deleted from the company's systems -- causing 400,000 products to disappear from all stores. The database connection was reduced from 150 to 10, slowing the system into a crawl, which meant business could not continue. A stored procedure was also removed and replaced, meaning the wrong product was returned to the user.

Ablett-Kerr QC said very extensive damage was being claimed and that a separate hearing was required to establish the facts. She told Judge Gary MacAskill she would be asking for a discharge without conviction for her client.

Judge MacAskill remanded the man on bail until April 5, when a date will be set for a hearing into the facts.

The case has been brought under the Crimes Amendment Act, with the man being charged in New Zealand, even though the damage was done in the U.S.

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Kirstin Mills

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