Jonathan James (December 12, 1983 – May 18, 2008) was an American hacker who was the first child in the United States to be incarcerated for cybercrime. At the time of the first offense, the South Florida native was 15 years old, and at the time of his sentencing, he was 16 years old. He died at his Pinecrest, Florida home on May 18, 2008, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jonathan James was a grey hat ethical hacker and did not have any bad intentions. Gray hat hackers may occasionally contravene laws or ethical norms, but they may not have the same malicious intent as black hat hackers.
Jonathan James perpetrated a series of incursions into several networks, including BellSouth and the Miami-Dade school system, between August 23, 1999, and October 27, 1999.
His entry into the systems of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), a section of the United States Department of Defense whose major mission is to study potential threats to the United States of America, both at home and abroad, drew the notice of federal authorities.
James later admitted to authorities that he 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 sent and received by DTRA employees, as well as numerous usernames and passwords belonging to other DTRA employees, including at least ten on official military computers.
The particular software received was eventually found to be the source code for the International Space Station’s crucial life-sustaining parts. “The software supported the International Space Station’s physical environment, including temperature and humidity control within the living space,” NASA said.
Jonathan James was sentenced to seven months of house arrest and was ordered to write letters of apology to NASA and the Department of Defense. He was also placed on probation until he turned eighteen. He was also forbidden from using computers for entertainment. When James tested positive for drug usage, he was taken into custody by the US Marshals Service and flown to an Alabama federal jail prison, where he served six months.
Death(Suicide) of Jonathan James
TJX, a department retail chain, was the victim of a large computer system breach on January 17, 2008, which exposed the personal and credit information of millions of consumers. BJ’s Wholesale Club, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21, DSW, OfficeMax, and Dave & Buster’s were all targeted by the same ring of hackers, who purportedly made the group’s ringleader, Albert Gonzalez, a fortune.
Jonathan James, who was acquaintances with several of the hackers involved, was probed by the Secret Service, who raided James’, his brother’s, and his girlfriend’s homes, despite his denials.
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