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August 29, 2006

T-Mobile hacker gets sentenced

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 12:00 PM

A 23-year-old who hacked his way into Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA's network and accessed a Secret Service agent's data was sentenced yesterday to one-year of home detention, according to the AP.

Nicholas Lee Jacobsen also will have to pay $10,000 in restitution to T-Mobile to cover losses caused by his acts, which took place in 2004.

In February, Jacobsen pleaded guilty to hacking into the company's data network, where he was able to view the names and Social Security numbers of 400 customers, all of whom were notified in writing about the break-in. Jacobsen accessed the information over at least a seven-month period.

In the AP story, the former Santa Ana, Calif., resident, who now lives in Oregon, said he lacked "comprehension and maturity" when he targeted the T-Mobile network.

"I did some very stupid things," Jacobsen told U.S. District Judge George King at his sentencing Monday in Los Angeles.

Jacobsen was able to read some sensitive information that Special Agent Peter Cavicchia could access through his wireless T-Mobile Sidekick device.

"What you've done is very dangerous to others. Maybe you didn't fully appreciate that, perhaps because of your youth," King told Jacobsen Monday.

Jacobsen could have faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the crime, accessing a protected computer.

The situation was a bit embarrassing for the Secret Service, as told in this story. Cavicchia had been using his personal T-Mobile Sidekick for an investigation. The device, which provides voice, e-mail, instant-messaging and Web-browsing capabilities, stores information on a server operated by T-Mobile and Danger, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company that makes the device.

With access to the server, Jacobsen could view Secret Service documents.

Following the leak, Cavicchia resigned from the Secret Service, but he told AP at the time that he was not asked to leave. He said he was cleared during an internal investigation into whether he had improperly revealed sensitive information or violated agency rules.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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