FBI charges teen with hacking Army unclassified network

FBI charges teen with hacking Army unclassified network

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The FBI on Aug. 30 arrested 19-year-old Chad Davis of Green Bay, Wis., on charges of maliciously interfering with an Army unclassified network at the Pentagon.

Federal prosecutors allege that Davis, co-founder of a hacker group called Global Hell, gained illegal access to an unclassified Army network, from which he removed and modified computer files.

On June 28 between 2:14 a.m. and 3:14 a.m. CST 'an unknown hacker gained unauthorized root access to an unclassified U.S. Army Web server located in the Pentagon,' the FBI said.

The hacker replaced the opening page with an altered Web page, which displayed the Global Hell signature. The intruder turned off the system-auditing services to block any trail. Then the intruder downloaded event files, modified them to hide his intrusion and uploaded them to replace the accurate logs with the altered version, according to an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court in Green Bay.

The FBI also said 'a thorough review of the system by system administrators revealed a recently publicized vulnerability was used to modify the opening Web page, and subsequently turn off logging.'

Barry Babler, an FBI special agent and public information officer in Green Bay, said FBI and Army officials are not releasing information about the nature of the publicized vulnerability.

A review of external logs showed the intruder accessed the server through an unauthorized, 2-year-old Internet service provider account in Green Bay, the affidavit said.

Access accepted

The intruder used the ISP between 11:50 p.m. June 27 and 3:49 a.m. on June 28, according to the FBI. Telephone records reveal that the phone line assigned to Davis was used to place a call to the ISP. Davis went online for four hours at 11:49 p.m.'the same time the site was unusable, Babler said.

He said Davis, whose hacking alias is Mindphasr, had been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI of hacker organizations. When Green Bay FBI officials received evidence of the Army attack, a link between the crime and Davis was apparent, Babler said. 'Davis came to our attention about a year ago when we started getting complaints from all over the country,' he said.

Two other targets of the FBI investigation provided information about Davis' computer hacking activities, the affidavit said. On May 26, FBI officials executed a number of search warrants around the country. The warrant applications detailed Global Hell's activities. Babler said one informant said the group was co-founded by Davis and Patrick Wayne Gregory, whose alias is Mosthated.

On June 2, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Davis' home and seized his computer and other material. The FBI found evidence that Davis used Cold Fusion, a Web development environment from Allaire Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., to attack systems' vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows programs and gain backdoor entry into a system, officials said.

Davis was interviewed after the search and admitted to at least 17 other hackings, Babler said. Davis was legally forbidden to use or aid anyone else in the use of a computer, Babler said. He said the case against Davis is strong; if convicted, Davis could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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