[ISN] WebTV hacker may get 'prison channel'

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Feb 15 03:07:54 EST 2005


By Timothy Roberts
February 14, 2005

A Louisiana man pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in San
Jose to sending phony e-mail messages containing a malicious script
that, when clicked on, reprogrammed WebTV boxes to dial up 9-1-1.  
David Jeansonne was accused of committing the crimes from his home in
Metairie, La. He was charged in California because the WebTV computer
servers are located in Santa Clara.

WebTV is a product of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), that allows
customers to use their TV sets as a monitor while connecting to the

Mr. Jeansonne, 44, pleaded guilty to intentional damage to a protected
computer causing a threat to public health and safety, and causing
intentional damage to a protected computer causing at least $5,000 in
damages. His sentencing is expected to take place in March.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each
of the two counts.

According to an affidavit Mr. Jeansonne targeted 18 people across the
country from Rochester, N.Y., to San Diego, with whom he had had some
exchange in the past. The hoax reached a total of 21 people. Police
responded to 10 of the victims in July 2002 after their WebTV boxes
dialed up 9-1-1.

The FBI learned from WebTV that Mr. Jeansonne was a widely known
computer hacker, whose WebTV account it had closed 17 times in the
past. The FBI obtained an indictment and arrested Mr. Jeansonne on
Feb. 18, 2004.

The WebTV case underscores the need for computer users to take care
when opening e-mail, says Christopher Sonderby, Assistant United
States Attorney based in San Jose.

"Don't click on e-mail links that you don't already know and trust,"  
he says.

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