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Home » Hacking News » Student charged after college computers hacked

Student charged after college computers hacked

by Nikola Strahija on February 8th, 2003 A college student has been charged with placed software on dozens of computers that allowed him to secretly monitor what people were typing, and then stole around $2,000 (1,200 pounds) using information he gleaned.

In what may serve as a cautionary tale for people who use computers in public areas, Douglas Boudreau allegedly installed keystroke monitoring software on more than 100 computers at Boston College and then watched as thousands of people sent emails, downloaded files and banked online.

According to an indictment by a Middlesex County grand jury, Boudreau compiled a database of personal information on about 4,800 faculty, staff and students at Boston College.

He also stole about $2,000 using the computer information he gathered, according to the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Richard Smith, a Massachusetts-based Internet security consultant, said the software in question is typically used by jealous husbands or wives to spy on their spouses -- or by employers who want to snoop on their workers.

The software is not new but poses a "sinister" threat to unwitting computer users, Smith said, noting that Boudreau could have used it with far more devastating consequences.

"With the amount of information he gathered from so many different people, there could have been a lot of things he could have done," Smith said. "I'm surprised this kind of thing hasn't been done more often."

Boudreau, who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges, was not immediately available for comment.

Boston College said it suspended Boudreau, 21, last year once it learned of his scheme.

"While we are grateful to the attorney general's office for their assistance in this case, it's important to state that Mr. Boudreau gathered personal identification numbers on students but never misused them in any way," said Jack Dunn, a spokesman for the college.

Dunn said the college was obligated by law to report the scheme to state prosecutors once it learned of it. Dunn said the Warwick, Rhode Island-based student had cooperated with police during their investigation.

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