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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Hampshire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Hooksett Man Pleads Guilty to Computer Hacking Offenses

            CONCORD - Wayne Kenney, 31, of Hooksett, pleaded guilty in federal court to unauthorized access to a computer and damage to protected computers, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.

            According to court documents and statements made in court, in early 2015, Kenney was arrested by a police officer with the Auburn Police Department (hereafter referred to as “John Doe 1” to protect his identity) for possession of heroin, for which he received a suspended sentence and was required to attend drug counseling sessions at the Farnum Center, an addiction treatment center located in Manchester. Thereafter, Kenney engaged in a retributive course of action that involved hacking into various computers of the Auburn Police Department, the Town Offices of Auburn, and the Farnum Center.

            From February 2015 through July 2015, Kenney hacked into Auburn Police Department and Town of Auburn computers and deployed malicious “keylogging” software that he created, and stole employees’ log-in credentials.  He then hacked into, deleted files from, and defaced employees’ online accounts. In addition, Kenney deployed malicious software that caused pop up messages to appear that stated “I pray for the death of [John Doe 1].” 

            Also according to court documents, on or about July 1, 2015, Kenney hacked into the website for the Farnum Center and took control of the site.  He disabled a link that would have provided website visitors access to information about alcohol and drug treatment assistance. He also changed their 24-hour emergency drug hotline phone number so that anyone calling for help would be re-routed to a number associated with adult entertainment services and would be unable to reach the Farnum Center’s emergency services.

            Kenney is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2021.

            “The defendant’s vindictive scheme damaged the operations of the Town of Auburn and its Police Department and also impeded individuals from accessing emergency substance abuse treatment services,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “Computer hacking schemes like this are serious offenses that have real victims and serious consequences.  We will work closely with the FBI and our other law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute computer hackers whose actions target the residents of the Granite State.”

            “With the stroke of a few keys, Wayne Kenney Jr. orchestrated a series of cyberattacks on the town of Auburn, New Hampshire, targeting, among others, a police officer who once arrested him. He also hacked into and defaced the website for the substance abuse center that treated him for his heroin addiction. By pleading guilty today, he has finally accepted responsibility for his vindictive crimes,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “But no matter how clever hackers like him think they are, they should know the FBI will stop at nothing to impose risks and consequences on the perpetrators behind these criminal acts.”

             This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgiana L. MacDonald of the District of New Hampshire.  Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen previously worked on this matter.

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Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
20-152
Updated November 18, 2020