[ISN] Whitehat hacker goes too far, gets raided by FBI, tells all

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/04/whitehat-hacker-goes-too-far-gets-raided-by-fbi-tells-all/ By Sean Gallagher Ars Technica April 9, 2014 A whitehat hacker from the Baltimore suburbs went too far in his effort to drive home a point about a security vulnerability he reported to a client. Now he’s unemployed and telling all on reddit. David Helkowski was working for Canton Group, a Baltimore-based software consulting firm on a project for the University of Maryland (UMD), when he claims he found malware on the university’s servers that could be used to gain access to personal data of students and faculty. But he says his employer and the university failed to take action on the report, and the vulnerability remained in place even after a data breach exposed more than 300,000 students’ and former students’ Social Security numbers. As Helkowski said to a co-worker in Steam chat, “I got tired of being ignored, so I forced their hand.” He penetrated the university’s network from home, working over multiple VPNs, and downloaded the personal data of members of the university’s security task force. He then posted the data to Pastebin and e-mailed the members of the task force anonymously on March 15. One day later, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Helkowski’s home. While no charges have yet been filed against him, Helkowski’s employment with Canton Group has ended. And yesterday, he took to reddit to tell everyone about it in a post entitled “IamA Hacker who was Raided by the FBI and Secret Service AMAA!” To prove his identity, he even posted a redacted copy of the search warrant he was served. How did the FBI track him down so fast? It turns out that Helkowski told just about everyone (including co-workers) about what he was doing. And since the vulnerability he used was the same one Canton Group had reported to UMD on February 27, it didn’t take a lot of sleuthing to follow a trail that pointed straight back to Helkowski’s home in the Baltimore suburb of Parkville. […]