This might sound like something out of a movie, but a 15-year-old from South Florida once infiltrated one of the most secure networks in the United States government with nothing more than a personal computer and a dial-up internet connection. Sometimes the truth, however, is stranger than any spy-fiction created by the likes of Tom Clancy.
A New York Times report detailed that between August and October of 1999, Jonathan James invaded multiple computer systems belonging to the Department of Defense, including ones at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL where the teenager accessed the International Space Station source codes. He then turned his attention to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency within the Department of Defense and retrieve more than 3,300 messages related to the agency's monitor of nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks.
James was arrested following a raid of his parents' home in January 2000, and he was later convicted for his crimes and sentenced to six months in juvenile detention. He avoided a 10-year prison sentence on account of his age. The story of Jonathan James doesn't have a happy ending, however, as he committed suicide in May 2008.
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