Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In Jail, Hacker Warns Parents He Says Children's Usage Uncontrollable

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In Jail, Hacker Warns Parents He Says Children's Usage Uncontrollable

Article excerpt

A teen-age technical whiz accused of hacking into the computers of Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. and other companies tells parents: You can do little or nothing to control what your children do on the Internet.

Christopher Schanot, 19, of High Ridge, was arrested in March on charges of hacking into the computers of Southwestern Bell, Bell Communications Research, Sprint and SRI International, a research and development contractor with government contracts. A federal prosecutor in Philadelphia has called Schanot a computer genius capable of entering almost any computer system.

When Schanot was arrested, his father, Mike Schanot, had said, "There are monsters out there . . . looking for young, vulnerable kids to abuse for their own ends." He'd also urged parents to monitor closely children's access to the Internet.

In an exclusive telephone interview Friday from the Ste. Genevieve County Jail, the younger Schanot disputed suggestions that he had been influenced by others to hack into various computer systems.

"No one influenced me to do anything I didn't want to do," he said.

Schanot chuckled when asked about parents monitoring their children's Internet usage. "You can't do it," he said. "Kids are going to do what they want to do. There are plenty of ways to get to it, and if you tell kids not to do it, they're going to go out of their way to do it.

"Unless you're going to be with your kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there's nothing you can do," he said.

Schanot's comments were his first public statements since his arrest.

Schanot said he left the St. Louis area shortly after graduating in May 1995 from Vianney High School, where he had been an honor student.

He moved to the Philadelphia area to live with Netta Gilboa, the 3 7-year-old publisher of a magazine called Gray Areas. Schanot said he had met Gilboa on an Internet chat channel and had communicated with her various times. …

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