Man accused of hacking Fed computer pleads guilty

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2011 4:15 PM
Man accused of hacking Fed computer pleads guilty

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Malaysian man accused of hacking into a Federal Reserve computer server pleaded guilty to possessing stolen credit and debit card numbers that the government said he intended to sell.

Lin Mun Poo, 32, entered his plea to one fraud count on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

The defendant is being held in a Brooklyn jail, and faces up to 10 years in prison under federal guidelines when he is sentenced on September 13. These guidelines are not mandatory.

"Our society's reliance on digital infrastructure means that cybercriminals around the world, such as the defendant, threaten our country's national and financial security," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

Kannan Sundaram, a federal defender representing the defendant, declined to comment but confirmed details of the plea and possible sentence.

Prosecutors said the defendant possessed more than 400,000 stolen credit card and debit card numbers on an encrypted laptop computer when federal agents arrested him last October 21, soon after his arrival in the United States,

Within hours of his arrival, federal agents observed him selling stolen credit card numbers for $1,000 at a Brooklyn restaurant, prosecutors have said.

Prosecutors said the defendant hacked into the computer system of the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland by exploiting a vulnerability he had found.

That branch has said at least 10 computers were hacked in June 2010, resulting in thousands of dollars of damages.

Prosecutors also accused the defendant of hacking last year into the computer system of a U.S. Department of Defense contractor that helps manage military transport operations.

Representatives of the Cleveland Fed were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

The case is U.S. v. Poo, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 10-cr-00891.

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)