Hacker Sentenced to Probation, No Prison Time, for Data Breach Affecting 100 Million People

A former tech worker from Seattle who was convicted of multiple charges related to the massive hack of Capital One bank and other firms back in 2019 has been sentenced to five years of probation after pleading mental illness.

Paige A. Thompson, 37, used a tool to scan Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts to identify those which were misconfigured. She then used these misconfigured accounts to hack into networks of over 30 entities and download data, obtaining the personal information of over 100 million people. The data breach forced Capital One to reach a tentative $190 million settlement with affected customers. Capital One was fined $80 million by the Treasury Department for failing to protect data.

Thompson also planted cryptocurrency mining software on the hacked servers, collecting the income generated from such mining. Arrested in July 2019, she was found guilty by a federal jury in June 2022 following a seven-day trial.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik sentenced Thompson to time served plus five years of probation, including location and computer monitoring.

During the sentencing, Lasnik noted that time in prison would be “particularly difficult” for Thompson due to her being transgender and having mental health issues.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said that he was “disappointed” with the court’s decision and insisted that this is not what “justice looks like.”

“Ms. Thompson’s hacking and theft of information of 100 million people did more than $250 million in damage to companies and individuals. Her cybercrimes created anxiety for millions of people who are justifiably concerned about their private information. This conduct deserves a more significant sanction,” Brown said.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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