Technology

No jail for 'Analyzer'


The hacker known as 'The Analyzer' was sentenced Thursday in Israel to six

months of community service for a series of intrusions into U.S. Defense

Department computers that triggered America's first full-blown infowar

false alarm.

Ehud Tenenbaum, 22, also received one year of probation, and a two-year

suspended prison sentence that can be enforced if he commits another

computer crime within three years. Additionally, the hacker was fined

75,000 New Israeli Sheqalim, about $18,000 U.S. dollars.

Prosecutors had requested jail time. Tenenbaum, now CTO at computer

security consultancy 2XS, could not be reached for comment, but in an

interview last Janaury said he was hoping for probation.

Thursday's sentencing puts a banal capstone on a case that once commanded

headlines.

In February, 1998, dozens of unclassified Pentagon systems were suffering

what then-U.S. deputy defense secretary John Hamre insisted was "the most

organized and systematic attack to date" on U.S. military systems. The

attacks exploited a well-known vulnerability in the Solaris operating

system for which a patch had been available for months, but they came at a

time of heightened tension in the Persian Gulf. Hamre and other officials

became convinced they were witnessing a sophisticated Iraqi 'information

warfare' attacked aimed at disrupting troop deployment in the Middle East.

A joint task force was hastily assembled from agents of the FBI, the Air

Force Office of Special Investigations, NASA, the U.S. Department of

Justice, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the NSA, and the CIA. The

investigation, code-named "Solar Sunrise," eventually snared two

California teenagers and Tenenbaum, but no Iraqi infowarriors.

The California teens received probation for their role in the drama. After

a brief stint in the military, Tenenbaum was indicted under Israeli

computer crime law in February 1999. In a plea agreement reached in

December of last year, he admitted to cracking U.S. and Israeli computers,

and plead guilty to conspiracy, wrongful infiltration of computerized

material, disruption of computer use and destroying evidence.

Tenenbaum's sentence will have him working full time for six months of

unpaid community service, such as in a hospital or a school, beginning in

July.

Boaz Guttman, the former lead Israeli investigator in the case, says the

hacker got off easy. "He caused huge damage in the U.S., and tomorrow this

criminal will be in the local papers as a hero," says Guttman, now a

computer law professor at Ruppin Academic Center. "In the United States,

they say we are a state of hackers." By Kevin Poulsen


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