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6/25/2010
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WiFi Hacker Indicted In Veep Threat

A Minnesota man is accused of sending threatening e-mail to Vice President Biden through his neighbor's WiFi network.

In the annals of good neighbors, Barry Vincent Ardolf is unlikely to be mentioned.

Ardolf, a 45-year-old resident of Blaine, Minnesota, was indicted in federal court in Minnesota on Wednesday for allegedly hacking into his neighbor's WiFi network and impersonating his neighbor to send child pornography and terrorist threats to the neighbor's co-workers and work supervisor, and to U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden.

The six count indictment against Ardolf charges him with unauthorized computer access, two counts of aggravated identity theft, possession of child pornography, transmission of child pornography, and threats to the President and his successors.

Early last year, Ardolf is alleged to have used software called Aircrack to defeat the encryption on his neighbor's WiFi router, allowing him to access the Internet through the router and through the victim's Qwest account.

Having done so, Ardolf is alleged to have created several Yahoo Mail accounts and a MySpace account in his neighbor's name without his neighbor's knowledge.

With these accounts, Ardolf is alleged to have set out to deliberately get his neighbor, Victim A, in trouble. The indictment claims that he "sent e-mails using Victim A's wireless Internet connection with the intent that they would be tracked back to Victim A's Internet account with Qwest."

These messages, the indictment says, included child pornography.

Ardolf is also alleged to have created a Gmail account in the name of another person, designated Victim B in the indictment. Impersonating Victim B, he allegedly sent an e-mail to Victim A's supervisor claiming that Victim A sexually harassed Victim B.

And through another Yahoo Mail account, the indictment claims, Ardolf composed a threatening e-mail that included the name of Victim A and his wife and sent the threat to multiple recipients, including the Vice President of the United States, the Governor of Minnesota, and a U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

The e-mail, in part, reads: "This is a terrorist threat! Take this seriously. I hate the way you people are spending money you don’t have.... I'm assigning myself to be judge jury and executioner. Since you folks have spent what you don’t have it's time to pay the ultimate price. Time for new officials after you all are put to death by us...." Various expletives follow.

If convicted, Ardolf faces up to 20 years in prison for distribution of child pornography, 10 years for possession of it, five years for unauthorized computer access and for threatening the Vice President, and a mandatory two-year sentence for each count of aggravated identity theft.

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Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.