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Jonathan James

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Jonathan James Hackagon

Name Jonathan Joseph James
Alias Jon, cOmrade (Network Name)
Country of Citizenship United States
Born December 12, 1983, Miami, Florida
Death May 18, 2008
Cause of Death Committed Suicide
Occupation Computer Hacker
Graduated school University of Melbourne
Major achievements FBI search for Melissa virus circulated assist people

Jonathan James (Also known across the interwebs as cOmrade) was the first juvenile convicted and jailed for hacking in the United States. The South Florida native was 15 years old at the time of the first offense and 16 years old on the date of his sentencing. After identification of two invasions the 16-year-old, James was sentenced to prison for a period of six months. He, later on, admitted that he likes to joke, wandering around and meet the challenges.  However, after the two invasions, James put a lot of attention to network security and determined to start a computer security company. He died on May 18, 2008, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hacks: 

James hacked into several companies back in 1999 including Bell South, the Miami-Dade school system and a little organization called the United States Department of Defense. He didn’t really mess much up but did read sensitive information, including the source code that made the International Space Station work.

Between August 23, 1999, and October 27, 1999, James committed a series of intrusions into various systems, including those of BellSouth and the Miami-Dade school system. What brought him to the attention of federal authorities, however, was his intrusion into the computers of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the United States Department of Defense, the primary function of which is to analyze potential threats to the United States of America, both at home and abroad. James later admitted to authorities that he had installed an unauthorized backdoor in a computer server in Dulles, Virginia, which he used to install a sniffer that allowed him to intercept over three thousand messages passing to and from DTRA employees, along with numerous usernames and passwords of other DTRA employees, including at least 10 on official military computers.

After the intrusion was detected, NASA shut down their computers for three weeks to investigate for a loss of $41,000. James was arrested on January 26, 2000, later plea-bargained and was sentenced to house arrest and probation. He violated that probation by failing a drug test and later served six months in an Alabama prison.

Arrest:

James’ house was raided at approximately 6:00 AM on January 26, 2000, by agents from the Department of Defense, NASA and the Pinecrest Police Dept. James was formally indicted six months later. On September 21, 2000, he entered into an agreement with U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis: he would plead guilty to two counts of juvenile delinquency in exchange for a lenient sentence.

James was sentenced to six months house arrest and probation until the age of eighteen and was required to write letters of apology to NASA and the Department of Defense. He was also banned from using computers for recreational purposes. James later violated that probation when he tested positive for drug use and was then subsequently taken into custody by the United States Marshals Service and flown to an Alabama federal correctional facility where he ultimately served six months.

Legal experts have suggested that, given the extent of his intrusions, he could have served at least ten years for his crimes if he had been an adult. Both Attorney General Janet Reno and prosecuting attorney Guy Lewis issued statements claiming the James case was proof the Justice Department was willing to get tough with juvenile offenders accused of cyber crime.

Death:

On May 18, 2008, Jonathan James was found dead in his shower with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His suicide was apparently motivated by the belief that he would be prosecuted for crimes he had not committed. “I honestly, honestly had nothing to do with TJX,” James wrote in his suicide note, “I have no faith in the ‘justice’ system. Perhaps my actions today, and this letter will send a stronger message to the public. Either way, I have lost control over this situation, and this is my only way to regain control.”

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