Specialist gets eight months for hacking

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A former Los Alamos National Laboratory computer specialist was sentenced to eight months in prison Monday for hacking into and damaging the computers of several high-tech companies, including online auction giant eBay Inc.

Jerome T. Heckenkamp, 25, of Santa Monica, pleaded guilty to two counts in January 2004 to the attacks, which took place before he joined the laboratory.

Heckenkamp could have faced up to five years in prison but U.S. District Court Judge James Ware sentenced him to eight months in prison and eight months of electronic monitoring and home confinement. He also has to pay $268,291 in restitution and for three years cannot use a computer with Internet access without approval from a probation officer.

Heckenkamp admitted breaking into San Jose-based eBay's computers in February and March 1999, defacing a Web page and installing malicious programs that captured usernames and passwords that he used to gain access to other eBay computers.

Heckenkamp also admitted he broke into San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc.'s computers in late 1999 and installed more so-called "Trojan" programs. At the time, he was a student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

He was arrested in January 2001 and lost his job at Los Alamos.

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