Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Cybercops Nab Hacker Argentina Arrests Student Tracked by FBI Wiretap of Harvard

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Cybercops Nab Hacker Argentina Arrests Student Tracked by FBI Wiretap of Harvard

Article excerpt

Authorized by federal court order, agents wiretapped one of Harvard University's Internet computers to track down an individual suspected of breaking into U.S. military computers.

The man, identified to be Julio Cesar Ardita, a 22-year-old computer s cience student and son of a former Argentine military officer, was charged with conducting illegal computer entries from Buenos Aires, where he lives, Attorney General Janet Reno said Friday.

"This marks the first time that a person making criminal misuse of a computer has been tracked down using a court-ordered wiretap on the computer network," Reno said.

He gained access to non-classified information on satellites, radiation and engineering.

The break-ins took place between July 12 and Dec. 28, 1995, when an Argentine judge ordered his computer and files seized. The judge, Wilma Lopez, said Telecom Argentina was suing Ardita. He used the company's telephone lines to reach the Internet.

Ardita remains free, but Lopez plans to question him further.

U.S. investigators would arrest him if he came to this country, but the U.S. felony charges, all related to illegal computer entry, are not extraditable offenses under U.S.-Argentine treaties.

Reno and Donald K. Stern, U.S. attorney in Boston, emphasized that Ardita got access to confidential and sensitive government information but not classified national security files. "It's not a national security leak," Stern said.

Last November, a court-ordered wiretap was placed on a computer server run by Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Authorities said Ardita broke into that computer first last summer, stole passwords from some of its 16,500 legitimate users and used the Harvard computer as a platform to penetrate military, NASA and other university computers on the Internet.

In previous arrests of computer criminals, government agents were invited to monitor computer networks by their operators. …

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