Bloomberg News

MIT Network Hacked by Massachusetts Man, Prosecutors Say

July 19, 2011

(Updates with suspect’s business in fifth paragraph.)

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- A Cambridge, Massachusetts, man was charged by the U.S. with hacking into Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer network and stealing more than 4 million documents.

Aaron Swartz, 24, was indicted on six counts including wire fraud and obtaining information from a protected computer, according to a statement today from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. He faces as long as 35 years in prison and a fine of as much as $1 million if convicted.

Swartz, a former fellow at the Harvard University Center for Ethics, hacked into MIT computers to access JSTOR, a database of more than 1,000 academic journals, and downloaded more than 4.8 million articles, according to the indictment.

Swartz, a former fellow at the Harvard University Center for Ethics, hacked into MIT’S online archive of academic journals and illegally downloaded 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a nonprofit provider of more than 1,000 academic journals on the Internet, according to the indictment.

Swartz planned to distribute “a significant proportion of JSTOR’s archive through one or more file-sharing sites,” the indictment said.

The suspect was a co-founder of the social networking and news site, according to a post on that website. He is no longer with

A message seeking comment left at a telephone number belonging to an Aaron Swartz in Cambridge wasn’t immediately returned.

--Editors: Stephen Farr, Fred Strasser

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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