Ex-student sentenced for computer hacking

September 7, 2005

Associated Press


AUSTIN - A former University of Texas at Austin student has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay more than $170,000 in restitution for hacking into the school's computer system and taking Social Security numbers and other personal information from tens of thousands of people.

Christopher Andrew Phillips, 22, was also prohibited from accessing the Internet, except under approval and supervision from his probation officer and only for school or work, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said in a news release Tuesday.

"He found out the hard way that breaking into someone else's computer is not a joke," Sutton said in the release.

A federal jury found him guilty in June of damaging the university's computer system and illegally possessing almost 40,000 Social Security numbers.

The jury acquitted Phillips of the two most serious charges against him, rejecting prosecutors' claims that he intended to profit from the Social Security numbers and from the financial data of other people that was found on his computer in January 2003.

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