Barry Ardolf, a Minnesota based neighbor-turned-hacker was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison for actions that fall somewhere between “personal vendetta” and “domestic cyberterrorism scheme.” It all started back in 2009 when the Kostolnik family moved in next door to Ardolf. After an event where Ardolf alledgedly kissed the Kostolnik’s 4 year old son on the lips (a claim Ardolf hotly contested) Ardolf hacked into the Kostolnik’s Wi-Fi network and proceed to wreak havoc as a response to the Kostolnik’s allegations.
The effects of his hacking, on the other hand, are entirely clear. After hacking into his neighbor’s encrypted Wi-Fi network, Aldorf proceeded to do the following: set up a Myspace Account under Mr. Kostolnik’s name and post child pornography on that account, send aggressively sexual emails to Mr. Kostolnik’s female coworkers from his hacked email account and threaten the life of Vice President Joe Biden via email, advising the recipient, “This is a terrorist threat! Take this seriously.”
The “terrorist threat” ultimately set events in motion that led to a search warrant for Ardolf’s house. The search turned up a veritable wealth of evidence including tutorials on cracking WEP encryption, handwritten revenge plans, mail that Ardolf had stolen, the pornographic image that had been posted to the false Myspace account and, to top it all off, evidence that Ardolf had perviously waged a similar campaign against neighbors at his previous home.
Initally offered a two year plea deal for crimes related to the Joe Biden email, Ardolf declined and was eventually charged with identity-theft and child-porn crimes which hiked his sentence, issued yesterday, up to 18 years in prison.
The lesson here, of course, is keep your Wi-Fi network encrypted and try not to anger creepy, unstable neighbors. And if you can’t avoid that, keep some Ethernet cables around.
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