Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, April 21, 2006


Page 3


San Diego Man Charged With Hacking USC Computer System


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A San Diego man has been charged with hacking into a University of Southern California computer system and accessing confidential information submitted by students applying to the school.

Eric McCarty, 25, was named in a criminal complaint that was unsealed Wednesday charging him with knowingly having transmitted a code or command to intentionally cause damage to USC’s on-line application system.

McCarty is scheduled to make his initial appearance in United States District Court in Los Angeles next Friday. If he is convicted of the computer intrusion charge alleged in the complaint, McCarty would face a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

McCarty, who is employed as a computer network administrator, also earns money by performing “penetration testing” designed to simulate malicious attacks on computer networks, a U.S. attorney spokesperson said.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on June 17, 2005, McCarty used a computer at his home to visit USC’s online applicant Web site. The applicant Web site, which exists for persons applying for admission to the university, requires the use of a login username and password, and allows a user to apply or modify an existing application to the school. Information for more than 275,000 applicants from 1997 through the present is stored within a sequel database, and includes data such as social security numbers and birth dates.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company