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Wired News
Tuesday, April 6, 1998

Mounties Get Their Hacker

With a little help from their law enforcement pals to the south, Canada's finest have arrested an unemployed, part-time computer science student who allegedly breached a NASA Web site.

TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- A 22-year-old Canadian man suspected of breaking into a NASA Web site and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage has been arrested by Canadian Mounties.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the northern Ontario city of Sudbury charged Jason Mewhiney with mischief, illegal entry, and willfully obstructing, interrupting, and interfering with the lawful use of data.

Mewhiney, an unemployed former part-time computer science student, was arrested on 1 April, according to RCMP Corporal Alain Charbot. Canadian police were tipped off 14 months ago by FBI agents in Washington, who were investigating security breaches into computer systems at NASA that caused more than US$70,000 worth of damage and forced officials to change security.

The FBI tracked the hacker by tracing telephone numbers to the Sudbury area.

The Mounties raided the homes of Mewhiney's divorced parents and seized two computers, a modem, diskettes, and documents.

The number of charges has not yet been released, but each count carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and fines amounting to thousands of dollars, Charbot said.


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