Sun, Jan 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Teenage hacker facing court case for data theft

STAFF WRITER

A 17-year-old high-school student identified only by his surname Hung (洪) has been named as one of the masterminds behind the nation's three main hacker groups, local media reported yesterday.

According to a report in a Chinese-language newspaper, the China Times, Hung is suspected of having hacked his way through a firewall at the Web site of the well-known magazine Information Security (資安人) to steal customer, member and commercial information on several occasions since last November.

The magazine reported the intrusion and theft of information to the police.

According to the newspaper report, the case was submitted to the juvenile court in Nantou County after Hung admitted to having entered the magazine's Web site.

The paper said he was questioned by investigators at his school following his final exam last Friday.

According to the report, Hung organized the Zuso hacker group -- one of the the nation's three main hacker groups -- while still in junior-high school and had been praised by other hackers for being the youngest hacker.

Information Security provided the Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation team with computer records which, together with the monitoring of their computer system, told the bureau that the hacker had used a method known as SQI injection to gain access to the database.

Investigators then used a newly developed data-mining system to analyze records from one of the hacked computers, which yielded the IP address of Hung's computer.

Investigators reportedly learned of Hung's identity more than a week ago, but waited until Friday, the day of his school's final exams, before confiscating Hung's computer and calling his parents to come to the school.

Hung is a student at Washington High School, a well-known school in central Taiwan. He was an exchange student in the US in 2004.

The media reports said that his father runs a medical clinic while his mother runs a high-tech firm.

According to the newspaper, Hung said in an interview with Business Weekly last fall that his "career" as a hacker began when he was a student in the US.

He reportedly told the magazine that it took him just half an hour to hack his way into eight Chinese Web sites and leave the message "Taiwanese never die" on their home pages.

The report said Hung was awarded NT$10,000 for that stunt, although it did not say by whom.

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