RealNews

Security analyst found innocent of hacking Texas county wireless system

A Texas jury has acquitted a computer security analyst who last year was accused of wrongful access to a county computer network. In March of 2002, Stefan Puffer discovered that the Harris County district clerk’s wireless computer network was unprotected. Anyone with a wireless network card had the ability to gain access to sensitive computers and files. Puffer demonstrated the problem to county officials, but rather than receiving any thanks, he was swiftly indicted on two counts of fraud. He faced five years in jail and a $250,000 fine for each offense. However, after only 15 minutes of deliberation, the jurors in the case found on Thursday that Puffer did not intend to cause any damage to the county’s systems. “Throughout the trial we proved — at least it was clear — the county had their wireless butt out and they were trying to use Stefan as a scapegoat,” Ed Chernoff, Puffer’s attorney, told the Houston Chronicle. Chernoff told jurors in his closing argument that Harris County District Clerk Charles Bacarrisse called the authorities on Puffer to cover up the office’s security incompetence. Bacarrisse conceded that he was embarrassed by Puffer’s demonstration. Full Story

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