Job-seeking Marriott hacker gets 30 months' porridge

Nabbed and jailed after Secret Service sting


A job-seeking Hungarian hacker who tried to land work with Marriott by hacking into the hotel chain's network before "offering" to sort out the resulting mess has been found guilty of hacking and attempted extortion and jailed for 30 months.

Attila Nemeth, 26, admits sending Trojan-infected emails to workers at the hotel late in 2010, allowing him to access back end servers from PCs he managed to infect. Nemeth extracted sensitive information which he threatened to reveal unless the hotel chain offered him a job maintaining Marriott's systems.

Marriott responded to this by reporting Nemeth to the US Secret Service, which ran a sting operation. Nemeth entered into an email and phone conversion with a fed posing as a hotel manager before he was persuaded to travel to the US, ostensibly to attend an all-expenses-paid job interview.

Under the guise of an interview, Nemeth was coaxed into explaining how he hacked into Marriott's systems. He was subsequently arrested and charged with computer crime and extortion.

The hacker pleaded guilty to both offences last November prior to a sentencing hearing last week, where he was sentenced to 30 months behind bars, the Wall Street journal reports.

Marriott estimates Nemeth's hack resulted in expenses of between $400,000 and $1m in consultant expenses and other costs associated with figuring out how much damage the hacker might have caused. ®

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