Paige Thompson, a 36-year-old Amazon Web Services (AWS) employee, has pleaded guilty to hacking into secure systems. She was also convicted of data theft and payment fraud. It is now up to the judge to determine the sentence.
This is reported by the American news agency Bloomberg, which has seen documents from the lawsuit.
American banks were heavily affected.
The woman worked in Amazon’s cloud department. In her spare time, she developed a tool to track misconfigured AWS accounts. In doing so, she was able to break into the accounts of thirty Amazon customers. One of those clients was Capital One Bank, one of the largest banks in the United States. Once logged in, she stole personal data and information from more than a hundred million bank customers.
The regulator criticized Capital One for this data breach in 2019. The bank had to pay more than $80 million in fines. To avoid running in and out of court all the time, the bank reached a $190 million settlement with the victims. The leak cost Capital One more than $270 million in total.
The jury finds suspect guilty of computer trespass and payment fraud.
Thompson, who gave himself the username ‘erratic’, wasn’t guilty of data theft. The prosecutor proved that the woman installed mining software on Amazon servers to create crypto coins, and the proceeds of this ended up in the online wallet of the suspect.
Text messages and messages she posted on online forums show that the woman was proud of her criminal activities. “She wanted dates, money, and to brag about it,” the prosecutor said in his closing argument.
After ten hours of deliberation, the 12-member jury gave its verdict. According to the jurors, the 36-year-old former employee was guilty of computer trespass (hacking), damaging a secure computer and payment fraud. She was cleared of identity fraud and access device fraud.
The suspect faces a lengthy prison sentence.
Only the jury has said Thompson has been found guilty of committing several criminal offences. What punishment the woman can face is up to the judge, and he will pass judgment on September 15. The court can impose a prison sentence of twenty years only for payment fraud.
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