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Serial Hacker To Be Arraigned

Adrian Lamo faces two federal charges stemming from his alleged hack into The New York Times' network in February 2002.

Accused serial hacker Adrian Lamo is expected to formally face two federal charges Thursday stemming from his alleged hack into The New York Times' private network in February 2002. The first charge, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, charges Lamo illegally accessed the internal network of the New York Times from February through April of 2002 and also altered the paper's Op-Ed database, resulting in more than $25,000 in damage.

The complaint also alleges Lamo illegally created five user names and passwords under the Times' LexusNexus account and totaled more than $300,000 in fees stemming from his news searches of the paper's electronic-information services.

If convicted, Lamo faces prison and fines under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The federal complaint states that Lamo's use of the LexusNexus database included searches for news stories containing his name, information regarding his parents' and neighbors' street addresses, other hackers, as well as various America Online executives.

The complaint also lists the string of intrusions Lamo had publicly admitted to committing during the past couple of years including Excite@Home (May 2001), Yahoo (September 2001), Microsoft (October 2001), MCI/WorldCom (November 2001), SBC Ameritech (December 2001), and Cingular (May 2003).

Earlier this week, Lamo was released into the custody of his parents after they secured a $250,000 bond. According to Patty Pontello, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Sacramento, Lamo was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Hollows not to use a computer and told that he must find employment.

Lamo has garnered a following in hacking circles for his one-of-a-kind-hacking style of breaking into corporate systems, then notifying the companies about their security holes and offering to help remediate their systems for free. Some of the companies he's intruded upon, including WorldCom, publicly thanked Lamo for helping them fix their security holes.

A Web site aimed at supporting Lamo, Freelamo.com, surfaced earlier this week.

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