Traditional Fraud Transfering to Computer Fraud

In an article from,

A federal grand jury in Seattle indicted a California man on two counts of computer misuse, alleging that he and two youths created an illicit computer network that jeopardized patient care in January 2005 at Northwest Hospital.

Christopher Maxwell, 20, of Vacaville, Calif., first compromised computer networks at California State University, the University of Michigan and the University of California-Los Angeles by exploiting their security lapses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.

At a news conference Friday morning, that office and the FBI said Maxwell and his unnamed co-conspirators incorporated those systems into a 13,000-computer network known as a botnet. The name refers to the use of penetrated computers as robots under the control of the network’s creator.

Maxwell and the youths are also accused of penetrating the computer network at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, a 187-bed, not-for-profit institution, where the invasion allegedly impaired patient treatment, delayed processing lab tests and surgery scheduling, and shut down computers in intensive-care rooms.

If convicted they could face up to 10 years of prison time and a $250,000 fine. The estimates cost to fix the hospital equipment was $149,000.

But what about the people who created the network? Shouldn’t they be involved in some kind of punishment? What kind of idiots place computers in intensive care rooms, or any hospital room really, on the internet to start with? Unless they connected to them through some other means, this was a bone head move to start with. I guess some computers could’ve been able to connect to the net and others not, but they if they are all interconnected in some way, then there’s a way to get this stuff on there, as well as industrious users who may have figured out that just turning on dhcp on the pc would put them online. I don’t know, but it seems hospitals should be a lot more careful than this one was.

FBI Special Agent Frank Harrill said that botnets have become “legion” throughout the country. In the first half of 2004, the number of botnets grew to more than 30,000 from less than 2,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“We’re seeing the migration of what was once traditional fraud to the cyber area,” Harrill said.