Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Jury Deliberates in Computer Theft Trial

Filed under
Security

A federal jury began deliberations Wednesday in the trial of an accused computer data thief in one of the largest federal computer theft cases.

Scott Levine, former chief executive of the bulk e-mail firm Snipermail.com Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla., faces 144 counts from a July 2004 indictment in what prosecutors described as one of the largest computer crime cases ever. Levine is accused of stealing 8.2 gigabytes of information from Little Rock-based Acxiom Corp., one of the world's largest database companies. The violations occurred from around April 2002 to August 2003.

The 1.6 billion records included names, home addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, bank and credit card numbers involving millions of individuals. But prosecutors determined that no identity fraud was committed. There was, however, a sale of information to a marketing company, prosecutors say.

In a four-week trial filled with high-tech testimony, both sides tried to simplify their arguments through symbolism.

Defense lawyer David Garvin pleaded Levine's innocence using an oft-quoted parable about a child saving starfish sent ashore to die by the uncontrollable tide. Prosecutor Karen Coleman countered with her own analogy.

"Scott Levine's username was Snipermail13 -- why was 13 chosen? Because that was the number of Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino," Coleman said. "And just like a quarterback leads the team, Scott Levine led the crime."

Like Coleman, Garvin attached significance to the computer name used by Levine's brother-in-law Mike Castro, one of the six Snipermail employees who pleaded guilty to acting as Levine's coconspirators in exchange for their testimony against Levine. Castro's username was Snipermail007.

Garvin said Castro thought of himself as a secret agent, a computer James Bond who could use his tech-savvy to frame Levine, a boss who once was so ill-at-ease with computers that he had to write out his e-mails by hand.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Newton asked jurors to focus on the work done on Levine's personal laptop computer, using monitors to show jurors online chats among Snipermail employees about Levine's pet project of downloading as many Acxiom files as possible. Prosecutors say Levine was using the files to start postal mail marketing campaigns and to bolster Snipermail's contact lists to make the company look more attractive for a multimillion-dollar buyout.

Jurors were to resume deliberations Thursday morning.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Linux/FOSS Events

  • The Linux Foundation Announces Session Lineup for ApacheCon(TM) Europe
  • OpenShift Commons Gathering event preview
    We're just two months out from the OpenShift Commons Gathering coming up on November 7, 2016 in Seattle, Washington, co-located with KubeCon and CloudNativeCon. OpenShift Origin is a distribution of Kubernetes optimized for continuous application development and multi-tenant deployment. Origin adds developer and operations-centric tools on top of Kubernetes to enable rapid application development, easy deployment and scaling, and long-term lifecycle maintenance for small and large teams. And we're excited to say, the 1.3 GA release of OpenShift Origin, which includes Kubernetes 1.3, is out the door! Hear more about the release from Lead Architect for OpenShift Origin, Clayton Coleman.

Security News

  • Report: Linux security must be upgraded to protect future tech
    The summit was used to expose a number of flaws in Linux's design that make it increasingly unsuitable to power modern devices. Linux is the operating system that runs most of the modern world. It is behind everything from web servers and supercomputers to mobile phones. Increasingly, it's also being used to run connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including products like cars and intelligent robots.
  • security things in Linux v4.6
    Hector Marco-Gisbert removed a long-standing limitation to mmap ASLR on 32-bit x86, where setting an unlimited stack (e.g. “ulimit -s unlimited“) would turn off mmap ASLR (which provided a way to bypass ASLR when executing setuid processes). Given that ASLR entropy can now be controlled directly (see the v4.5 post), and that the cases where this created an actual problem are very rare, means that if a system sees collisions between unlimited stack and mmap ASLR, they can just adjust the 32-bit ASLR entropy instead.

Raspberry Pi PIXEL and More Improvements

Trainline creates open source platform to help developers deploy apps and environments in AWS