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Five Men Arrested in LexisNexis Data Theft 74

An anonymous reader writes "Five men aged 19-24 were arrested last week in connection with the reported theft last year of some 310,000 personal records from database giant LexisNexis. The Washington Post reports that some of the individuals were also involved in the theft and online posting of revealing photos from socialite Paris Hilton's cell phone. All are being charged with 'aggravated identity theft,' which carries a mandatory 2-year jail sentence for those found guilty."
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Five Men Arrested in LexisNexis Data Theft

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  • Wait ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sonic McTails ( 700139 ) on Friday June 30, 2006 @11:28PM (#15641283)
    Only a two year jail sentence? That seems extremely light, considering that once you have your identity stolen, it can easily take over two years to put everything back in order, especially if the guy who did it isn't caught. That's more like a slap on the wrist then a real punishment, and I don't see it as a deterrent in commiting in this crime.
     
    Think about it, very few people who commit identify theft ever get caught, and in addition, you can make a lot of money or get a lot of free stuff while it lasts, and if you get busted, you're out in two years and you can do it all over again.
    • Re:Wait ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Friday June 30, 2006 @11:36PM (#15641325)
      Punitive fines can exceed the amount of profit gained by criminal actions, and this is in addition to seizure of assets acquired illegally. Furthermore, it is possible for victims to file civil suits, although I wouldn't want to guess at what their outcomes might be.

      It is quite possible to ensure that crime does pay with current laws if that is your only concern. I suspect that the two year minimum is applied to less severe offences.

      Also note, from the article: aggravated identity theft "is defined as the use of a stolen identity to commit other crimes". Therefore, they're already being accused of other crimes in addition to this offence (and, if the description is accurate, cannot be guilty of this offence if they are not found guilty of another offence as well). The sentence for this crime will in addition to any other sentences they receive.
    • it should be 310000/5 * (1-2 years) = 31000-62000 years each
      • As funny as your comment is, I believe that your math may be a little off. (310000/5)*[1,2] is [62000,124000]. I believe you did 310000/(5*[1,2]). Either way, it's funny, and I hope that my nitpick does not detract from that.
    • Sounds fair to me.

      I have no problem with 2 years per record.

      In 660,000 years, they'll be out of jail and back in society.

      Oh, wait...
    • Re:Wait ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by apflwr3 ( 974301 ) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @05:58AM (#15642012)
      Only a two year jail sentence? That seems extremely light, considering that once you have your identity stolen, it can easily take over two years to put everything back in order

      Well, first, a victim of ID theft doesn't spend two years of straight time fixing the problem. There's a difference between two years of dealing with bureacracy for a few hours a week and two years of your life spent in a prison cell. I'm not making light of ID theft, I was a victim of it myself and it was certainly a bitch to deal with... But hell, I'd take eight years of doing what you have to do to get everything back in order over eight months of prison time. Prison really, really sucks.

      So two years doesn't sound that harsh to me. These guys are not violent criminals. They aren't gang members and will not be at the top of the prison food chain. Those two years will not exactly fly by, and being 19-24 they will lose some of what should have been the best years of their lives. When they get out they will be felons and will lose many rights (including foreign travel), and will have to check in with parole officers, and will find it much harder to find work and a decent place to live. They may even be prevented from using a computer for a period of time. I think losing two years of your life would deter most from d

    • what's scary isn't that these hackers broke into lexis-nexis but that lexis-nexis has that much information about us to obtain!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30, 2006 @11:29PM (#15641290)
    Sad to say, which brought about the investigation. 31000 peoples personal data or Paris Hilton's contact list. Unfortunately, it was probably the latter.
  • Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Friday June 30, 2006 @11:30PM (#15641295) Homepage Journal
    I think LexisNexis is more amoral and unethical than the hackers.
  • How do we know that they stole the photos? It could have been someone else that just gave it to them and they put it online. It seems to be that the police are eager to arrest these guys.
  • I hardly believe they would have been arrested if they purchased the info from LexisNexis. This wasn't identity theft, it was digital shoplifting.
    • This wasn't identity theft, it was digital shoplifting.
      The identity they stole belonged to the Police.

      They used Police 'credentials' to access Accurint, which is a subsidary of Lexis-Nexis.

      The aggrivating factor, was that he used that account to create other accounts "which he then allegedly shared with the other co-defendants."

      It doesn't matter what they used the information for. They are pwn3d.
    • by wish bot ( 265150 ) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @12:26AM (#15641490)
      It's not theft - it's COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Isn't that what we keep saying regarding copying of electronic data?

      (only half joking).

      • It's not theft - it's COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Isn't that what we keep saying regarding copying of electronic data?

        You're right that you can't, technically speaking 'steal' information. But copyright doesn't apply in this case because you can't copyright information. Only expression with originality.

        Therefore they can't be busted for copyright infringmenet, only something closer to trespass: unauthorized access to the system.

        • Therefore they can't be busted for copyright infringmenet, only something closer to trespass: unauthorized access to the system.

          Lucky them, actually. If they had been committing copyright infringment instead, the RIAA would probably have tried to get the death penalty.

  • by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Friday June 30, 2006 @11:34PM (#15641316)
    But according to interviews washingtonpost.com had with at least three of the accused, the group accessed information on Hilton, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

    Why has he trademarked his name?
  • I imagine (and actually support the idea) that not only will they get prison time for their actions, but that Ms Hilton will be suing these gentleman into the Stone Age.

    I'm sure she has a rather high powered cadre of lawyers, and if she doesn't, I'm sure her father has a few who would be more than willing to take vengeance on these guys for sullying her good... er... decent... er... human name.
  • by scrambledhelix ( 902472 ) <rtd24@columbiBOHRa.edu minus physicist> on Friday June 30, 2006 @11:44PM (#15641350)
    I hope to god someone cites these guys to congress as a reason *against* data retention legislation. It's not big brother we should be worried about, it's his jackass cousins...
  • ...when hacking into a computer system automatically got you a job working for the company you hacked into?
  • This is not about privacy, but about information, which, in the prevailing Slashdot opinion, "wants to be free".

    So I'm surprised, no one is outraged at LexisNexis collecting (and selling) these data in the first place.

    The thieves are thieves, of course, and LexisNexis is not doing anything illegal, but sympathy for them is something, I just can't master...

    • Not only that, but they have the audacity to call it personal records!

      Federal authorities last week arrested five men in connection with a 2005 database breach at LexisNexis Group that the database giant said led to the theft of personal records on more than 310,000 individuals.
    • The thieves are thieves, of course, and LexisNexis is not doing anything illegal, but sympathy for them is something, I just can't master.

      I understand the sentiment. I've never had to deal with ID theft personally but it's not hard to imagine the pain in the ass it would be.

      But I think it's easy to say for example, that two years jail is too leniant (as has been said a few times here). You need to temper your opinion by comparing the jailtime to some other violent crimes. Two years in jail would be hell
  • All are being charged with 'aggravated identity theft,' which carries a mandatory 2-year jail sentence for those found guilty

    Shouldn't be too bad.
    Once everyone knows they're the ones responsible for the stuff they've been wankin off to, nobody will mess with them.
  • Seisint, the Florida Lexis/Nexis subsidiary that these jerks stole access to, was started by Hank Asher [google.com], the Iran/Contra cocaine smuggler. Just remember that those criminals [google.com] have access to all that personal data, even if they do pay for it legally.
    • The funny part is, Lexis-Nexis bought Seisint to get their hands on Hank Asher's whizbang technology. Seems they had an IT department in Dayton full of old fuddy-duddies who insisted on running lexis-nexis on those creepy old IBM mainframes. You know, the ones that had never been hacked.
    • It's amazing how the scum always seems to rise back to the top. Sociopaths run the world.
      • Dick Cheney never went away. And Admiral John "Iran/Contra" Poindexter was pardoned by Bush Sr. When Bush Jr got the White House, the Iran/Contra "secret government" just got all their old parking spots back.

        Of course, the scum floats atop the mud that elected it. 50M Americans who voted for them can't be written off as "a few bad apples". It's a bad orchard, poison fruits. To put it another way, the Bush administration is a turd blossom [google.com].
        • When Presidents got oral sex and lied about it, and mishandled the Middle East so brilliantly we all had to wait in line for gas. Oh man, I wish it was the 70s all over again.
          • Nixon didn't get oral sex, though he did bungle the Mideast and our own oil companies into an "oil crisis" and global oil tyranny.

            Carter didn't do much wrong in the Mideast other than shelter the Shah, covering for the CIA which promptly scored him Oliver North's scuttled desert helicopter rescue boondoggle, setting the stage for the 1980s Iran/Contra. Carter did negotiate the first Egypt/Israel peace in millennia. The 1970s were pretty good, as long as you weren't wearing polyester leisure suits like a Rep
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For the younger crowd...

    If you live in an apartment complex managed by a corporation and you live in a county with fast-track eviction, like Orange and Los Angeles and many others..you probably already know you have to pay by the 4th or you get a 3-day notice to pay or quit and a $50-$100 fine. On the 10th, their accounting person pushes a button and all of the accounts that haven't paid --in certified funds-- get FAXed to an attorney chop-shop that immediately adds a $300 fee and a couple days later files
    • So pay your rent on time. Sounds kinda like flamebait but I don't mean it that way. You have done a great service in supplying this information...I didn't know. It's absolutely a big scam all the way the around. The jurisdiction gets their fine, the lawyers get paid, the landlord gets paid (plus late fees), and the renter gets to eat ketchup soup again. Plus, the information is available via Lexis/Nexis. Don't for minute think that information isn't likely to be seen. Every lawyer in the country has
      • What if its already too late - you've lost your ass because you didnt see the dot-com shakeout ahead of time and the recession. you're racking up school loans so you can get back into the tech industry that declared you unwanted and unemployable since 2001, and there are already people trying to sue you for money you borrowed when times were good?
  • Nerdiest. Crime. Ever.
    • Nerdiest. Crime. Ever.

      Maybe. Definitely sounds like something Spamtec would rap about. Any rappers who can work LexisNexis, Linux, HPAV, spamming, ROKSO and even SCO into their rhymes can't be all bad. This story made me think of them immediately, and I kind of hoped they weren't getting busted.

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)

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