A former Amazon engineer who was accused of stealing clients’ private info from Capital One in one of many largest breaches in the US was discovered responsible of wire fraud and hacking prices on Friday.
A Seattle jury discovered that Paige Thompson, 36, had violated an anti-hacking regulation often known as the Laptop Fraud and Abuse Act, which forbids entry to a pc with out authorization. The jury discovered her not responsible of id theft and entry gadget fraud.
Ms. Thompson had labored as a software program engineer and ran an internet neighborhood for different staff in her business. In 2019, she downloaded private info belonging to greater than 100 million Capital One clients. Her authorized staff 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 fastened.
However the Justice Division mentioned that Ms. Thompson had by no means deliberate to alert Capital One to the issues that gave her entry to clients’ information, 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 Division mentioned.
“She wished information, she wished cash, and he or she wished to brag,” Andrew Friedman, an assistant U.S. legal professional, mentioned in closing arguments.
Ms. Thompson’s case attracted consideration from the tech business due to the fees below the Laptop Fraud and Abuse Act. Critics of the regulation have argued that it’s too broad and permits for the prosecution of so-called white hat hackers. Final month, the Justice Division advised prosecutors that they need to now not use the regulation 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, along with the wire fraud prices. 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 lady who had spoken with Ms. Thompson concerning the information 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 mentioned Capital One lacked the safety measures it wanted to guard clients’ info. 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 information had been uncovered within the breach.
“Ms. Thompson used her hacking abilities to steal the non-public info of greater than 100 million folks, and hijacked pc servers to mine cryptocurrency,” mentioned Nicholas W. Brown, the U.S. legal professional for the Western District of Washington, in a press release. “Removed from being an moral hacker making an attempt to assist corporations with their pc safety, she exploited errors to steal invaluable information and sought to counterpoint herself.”