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Student faces hacking charges

(By David Waite)

Stop cybercrime and syberterrorism A 22-year-old Pennsylvania man is facing federal charges for allegedly hacking into a computer site owned by a Hawai'i company, taking control of the site and costing the company about $8,400 to fix the problem.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court, Jason Starr, a business-college student in Erie, Pa., was able to enter a computer server belonging to Ohananet, a Hawai'i corporation with an Internet site.

Starr was able to manipulate the site for about a year following his unauthorized entry in August 2000 and the damages incurred by the company included the costs for time spent by Ohananet workers identifying and solving the problem as well as obtaining a new server and transferring the data, according to court documents.

Edward Kubo, U.S. attorney for Hawai'i, said the charges allege that Starr used a computer at Erie Business College to enter Ohananet's server, which is located in Missouri, without permission.

Starr then took control of the server and changed the account password, the charges allege.

Starr is also accused of obtaining information about "PayPal" online payment accounts maintained by Ohananet's president and attempting to gain unauthorized access to those accounts.

Ohananet maintained a Hawai'i-themed site on the Internet, offering customers free e-mail and Hawai'i-related merchandise for sale. The company leased a computer server in Missouri to provide the services. Its customers were located throughout the country.

If convicted, Starr faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

The case was investigated by the Cyber Crime Squad of the FBI's Honolulu office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong.

Cyber crimes when notified will be investigated by the CID with the assistance of computer experts assigned by the ministry and officials of the Attorney General's Department. "The investigation team will function as a committee and will be vested with special powers to monitor and investigate computer crimes and arrest the suspects," explained Dharmawardena.

"A new draft on 'intellectual property rights' will also be introduced soon to deal with issues relating to computer software piracy. This is expected to go side by side with the proposed Computer Crime Act," he said. "Eighty per cent of the computer software in the country is illegal," he said, adding that they could be prevented once the proposed Act has been fully enforced.

Source: the.honoluluadvertiser.com

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