With growing concern over safety and security the government is beginning to place an increasing interest in Internet crimes, particularly those that target government computers. Computer hackers who target sensitive systems, whether they involve attacks on infrastructure or attempts to acquire information, can face serious criminal penalties
In a recent case, a California resident was arrested for computer crimes, including an attack that allegedly paralyzed government computers in Larimer County. The 27 year old was arrested in Texas for the crime, but was living in Colorado when the incident occurred. The attack was allegedly in response to an arrest for a DUI two years ago in the same county.
According to federal prosecutors, the young computer whiz was angry for the drunk driving arrest and decided to seek retribution. Reports allege that the man embedded a message in the attack suggesting that attack was pay back. According to police, the language used in the message was similar to language used by the man when interviewed back in 2010.
The attack apparently had a significant effect on the county's computers. The hacker was able to overwhelm government computers for three days, limiting government employees' ability to use their computers. It took the combined efforts of the county sheriff's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify the man as the alleged hacker.
The 27-year-old California man, who has already been indicted by a federal grand jury, is currently being charged with intentionally damaging a protected computer, possessing an unauthorized access device, illegally possessing a document-making implement and authentication feature and one count of production of a false identification document.
Knowing the background of this case, it's understandable why the man was so upset at the Colorado county. In many criminal cases, otherwise rational individuals can get carried by their emotions and act out of character. The hope is that the man can effectively present his case and scrutinize the federal investigator's evidence. This way, the man's case may end favorably.
Source: Coloradoan, "Former Fort Collins man indicted by feds over 'debilitating' county computer attack," Trevor Hughes, Aug. 27, 2012