NASA and Pentagon hacker TinKode receives two-year suspended jail sentence

Romanian court orders him to pay over US$120,000 to Oracle, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense

By Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service |  Security

"To the relief of many, TinKode appeared to be inspired more by the desire to embarrass organisations into improving web security - rather than making money," Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at antivirus vendor Sophos said Friday in a blog post. "Nevertheless, his actions were illegal and led to his arrest by Romanian authorities."

"That's a lesson that others would be wise to learn from if engaged in similar activities," Cluley said.

Members of the Romanian Security Team (RST) forum -- the largest online hacker community in Romania, where TinKode was a high-ranking member before his arrest -- took notice of the court's decision on Thursday. Some of them expressed relief that he received a lenient sentence, some felt that the amount of money he has to pay is too large and questioned his prospects of finding work with a criminal record, while others felt that he did wrong by seeking publicity which eventually led to his arrest.

TinKode's story should make hackers ask themselves whether what he did was worth it, an RST forum moderator said.

"It's no excuse for TinKode's criminal hacks, but if the websites had been properly secured in the first place they would have never found themselves embarrassed by the Romanian hacker," Cluley said.

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