MARY JO WHITE, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of
New York, announced that RAYMOND TORRICELLI, a/k/a "rolex,"
the head of a hacker group known as "#conflict," was sentenced
today to four months in prison and four months of home confinement for,
among other things, breaking into two computers owned and maintained by
the National Aeronautics and Space Administrations Jet Propulsion
Laboratory ("JPL"), located in Pasadena, California, and using
one of those computers to host an Internet chat-room devoted to hacking.
Chief United States District Judge MICHAEL B. MUKASEY also ordered TORRICELLI
to pay a $4,400 in restitution to NASA.
At his plea to five separate charges on December 1, 2000, TORRICELLI admitted
that, in 1998, he was a computer hacker, and a member of a hacking organization
known as "#conflict." TORRICELLI admitted that, operating from
his residence in New Rochelle, New York, he used his personal computer
to run programs designed to search the Internet, and seek out computers
which were vulnerable to intrusion. Once such computers were located,
TORRICELLI's computer obtained unauthorized access to the computers by
uploading a program known as "rootkit." According to the Complaint,
"rootkit" is a program which, when run on computer, allows a
hacker to gain complete access to all of a computer's functions without
having been granted these privileges by the authorized users of that computer.
According to the Information and Complaint, one of the computers TORRICELLI
accessed was used by NASA to perform satellite design and mission analysis
concerning future space missions, another was used by JPLs Communications
Ground Systems Section as an e-mail and internal web server. According
to the Complaint, and his plea allocution, after gaining this unauthorized
access to computers and loading "rootkit," TORRICELLI under
his alias "rolex," used many of the computers to host chat-room
According to the Complaint, TORRICELLI admitted that, in these discussions,
he invited other chat participants to visit a website which enabled them
to view pornographic images and that he earned 18 cents for each visit
a person made to that website. According to the Complaint, TORRICELLI
earned approximately $300-400 from per week from this activity.
TORRICELLI also pled guilty to intercepting usernames and passwords traversing
the computer networks of a computer owned by San Jose State University.
In addition, TORRICELLI pled guilty to possession of stolen passwords
and usernames which he used to gain free Internet access, or to gain unauthorized
access to still more computers. According to the Complaint, TORRICELLI
admitted that when he obtained passwords which were encrypted, he would
use a password cracking program known as"John-the-Ripper" to
decrypt the passwords.
In addition, TORRICELLI pled guilty to possessing stolen credit card numbers,
he admitted obtaining from other individuals and stored them on his computer.
TORRICELLI admitted that he used one such credit card number to purchase
long distance telephone service.
According to the Complaint, much of the evidence obtained against TORRICELLI
was obtained through a search of his personal computer. According to the
Complaint, in addition to thousands of stolen passwords and numerous credit
card numbers, investigators found transcripts of chat-room discussions
in which TORRICELLI and members of "#conflict" discussed, among
other things, (1) breaking into other computers (a practice known as "hacking");
(2) obtaining credit card numbers belonging to other persons and using
those numbers to make unauthorized purchases (a practice known as "carding");
and (3) using their computers to electronically alter the results of the
annual MTV Movie Awards.
Ms. WHITE praised the investigative efforts of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Computer Crimes
Division; the New Rochelle, New York, Police Department; and the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
TORRICELLI, 20, lives in the New Rochelle, New York.
Assistant United States Attorney JOSEPH V. De MARCO is in charge of the