A jury convicts a Seattle woman in a massive hack on Capital One

A jury convicts a Seattle woman in a massive hack on Capital One

SEATTLE – A federal jury on Friday convicted a former Seattle tech worker of several charges in connection with the massive hacking of Capital One Bank and other companies in 2019.

Paige Thompson, 36, a former Amazon software engineer who used the online “wrong” handrail, leaked personal information to more than 100 million people – a data breach that prompted Capital One to achieve a $ 190 million trial with affected customers. The finance ministry also fined the company $ 80 million for failing to protect the data.

After a seven-day trial, a Seattle jury found her guilty of wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer and damage to a protected computer. The jury acquitted her of other charges, including fraud with access devices and aggravated identity theft.

Thompson’s lawyers claimed that she struggled with mental health problems, that she never intended to profit from the information she received, and said in court documents “there is no credible or direct evidence that one person’s identity was misused.”

Federal prosecutors said that she not only stole data, but also installed software on servers that she illegally accessed in order to steal computer power for cryptocurrency mining.

“Far from being an ethical hacker trying to help companies in their computer security, she used mistakes to steal valuable data and sought to get rich,” Seattle U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a press release.

Fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while other charges can be up to five years. U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik is due to hand down Thompson in September.

In interviews with The Associated Press after her arrest, friends and associates described Thompson as a skilled programmer and software architect whose career and behavior – exaggerating in chat groups, frequent vulgarities, expressing gender identity troubles and emotional ups and downs – reflected her on the internet handle.

At one point, two former roommates received a protection order against her, saying she was stalking and harassing them.

Thompson joined Amazon in 2015 to work at Amazon Web Services, the department that housed the Capital One data she accessed. She left the job the following year.

Some friends said they believe that the unemployed Thompson – poor and, in her own opinion, struggling with severe depression – believes the hack could attract her attention, respect and a new job.

“She wanted the data, she wanted the money and she wanted to brag,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Friedman to the jury, according to the statement.

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