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'GhostExodus' Hacker Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison

william mcgrawIn June 2009, federal authorities arrested William McGraw (alias "GhostExodus") on charges of hacking into 14 computers at W.B. Carrell Memorial Clinic in Dallas, where he worked as a security guard. According to prosecutors, McGraw gained access to the network as part of his plot to attack Anonymous on or before the Fourth of July -- which he called "Devil's Day."

His master plan, however, never came to fruition. Last May, McGraw pleaded guilty to two counts of transmitting a malicious code, and reportedly confessed that he intended to launch a distributed denial of service attack against Anonymous's website. Last week, he finally received his sentence from U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle: more than nine years in federal prison.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Judge Boyle cited in her ruling "the need for those who commit computer crimes to understand the potentially devastating consequences of their actions, to promote respect for the law, and to deter others involved in or contemplating hacking."

McGraw, meanwhile, still seems to think that, as a hacker, he fulfills a very necessary niche in the Internet's ecosystem. In a recent letter, he wrote to the Dallas Observer's Robert Wilonsky, McGraw argued that "hackers are policeing [sic] the internet," and that "E.T.A. helped a lot of innocent victims that Anonymous has terrorized."

Even his own crime, according to the 26-year old, pales in comparison to some other hacker exploits. "Sure, I've done my share of juvenile posturing," he wrote. "But I've never tampered with patient records, turned off an HVAC, stolen identities, or people's hard earned money."

Tags: anonymous, crime, cybercrime, dallas, ghostexodus, hacker, hacking, hospital, patient, security, top, Web