UI police say hacker downloaded data on dorm residents

UI police say hacker downloaded data on dorm residents

URBANA — University of Illinois police say a former University of Illinois engineering student who was convicted a few weeks ago for computer fraud at the Coordinated Science Lab also gained access to as many as 3,000 Social Security numbers of people living at a university residence hall.

Daniel Beckwitt, 22, who has listed addresses in Urbana and Bethesda, Md., pleaded guilty on June 3 to one count of computer fraud in connection with an incident in which he tampered with campus email accounts and allegedly damaged locks at a computer lab and installed "key loggers" on keyboards at another engineering building to access sensitive information.

As part of a plea agreement, a second count of computer fraud and charges of criminal damage to government property, forgery, possession of a firearm without a FOID card, identity theft and eavesdropping were dismissed.

Beckwitt was sentenced to 24 months of probation and three days in jail, with credit for three days previously served. He was ordered to pay applicable fines and court costs and to submit specimens of blood, saliva or tissue to the Illinois State Police or Department of Corrections.

On Thursday, University of Illinois police Captain Roy Acree said police now believe that Beckwitt also gained access to Social Security numbers of residents at the Hendrick House residence hall in Urbana, where Beckwitt formerly lived.

"He ended up in an office where a computer was located and used a thumb drive to download information which included Social Security numbers of some of the residents of Hendrick House," Acree said on Thursday evening. "The only people who had access to that room were the staff of Hendrick House and the cleaning crew. It is unclear how he got into that room."

UI Police Detective James Carter said the breach took place sometime during the 2011-2012 school year.

Carter also said that police believe that the stolen numbers weren't used. Carter said that he doesn't think any new charges will be filed against Beckwitt in connection with this incident.

Meanwhile, Hendrick House general manager Becky Rowe said the data that was taken was not encrypted, but she said that personal information will be encrypted in the future. She said residents who may have had their information taken are being notified.

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jdmac44 wrote on June 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Amazing.  The guy put on a regular crime spree, breaking into offices over the course of months, tampered with computer equipment, stole passwords, sent out messages on professors accounts, disrupted a class exam, stole property (keys) to access more offices, possessed a gun illegally.  And he gets probation.  Is it any wonder there's so little deterent against crime today?  I also don't see mention of an order for restitution, I know that a significant amount of time was put into the investigation as well as damaged property.  At least I know that he's not a real hacker, being that he simply used off the shelf gadgets to steal passwords, he didn't actually compromise the network as was originally thought.