back to article Bloke accused of Linux kernel.org hack nabbed during traffic stop

A man who allegedly hacked the Linux Kernel Organization's kernel.org and the Linux Foundation's servers has been collared by cops. Donald Ryan Austin, 27, of El Portal, Florida, will appear in court in San Francisco later this month. He is accused of four counts of "intentional transmission causing damage to a protected …

  1. moiety

    Good story image.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Linux

      Good story image

      It's from Wallace and Gromit - The Wrong Trousers, in case anyone's wondering.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        One of their (many) excellent short films. I still like watching the great railway chase (after many viewings)

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          One of their (many) excellent short films. I still like watching the great railway chase (after many viewings)

          Indeed, although I think my favourite moment from all of them is Peter Kay's "Stand back! There may be a large rabbit dropping" from Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

          Sorry. Back to topic.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    How about

    OK kid, you got skillz, you can hit the big house without soap on a rope, or work for us, you got that kid...

  3. chuckufarley
    FAIL

    This is a great example...

    ...of someone not understanding the concept.

    "Austin's goal, according to the prosecution, was to get early access to Linux builds."

    So he hacks a group that goes by the mantra "Release early and often."

    1. Enric Martinez

      Re: This is a great example...

      Smart!

      Pity there aint no Darwin Awards for this kind of thing :)

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Linux

    How about community service instead

    Replacing Windows with Linux on at least 2 computers per day, fielding Linux user support questions, managing a few forums and generally doing menial tasks for the kernel devs for a few years should put some starch into his collar.

    1. jtaylor

      Re: How about community service instead

      "Hey, remember that idiot who popped kernel.org a few years ago and put a trojan into Linux systems?" "Yeah, what of him?" "He's working for the city now, in lieu of prison." "Oh, that's nice. What's he doing?" "Installing Linux on thousands of computers that don't belong to him."

      1. chuckufarley

        Re: How about community service instead

        And make him write a million lines of documentation for FOSS projects.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about community service instead

      4 people are nasty enough to not offer a community service get-out.

      What if the guy were .... black?

      1. chuckufarley
        IT Angle

        Re: How about community service instead

        As far as I am concerned he could be pink with purple polka-dots. He hacked one of the few organizations on this planet that consider technical knowledge a freely accessible resource. If our Anonymous Coward wants to know where I draw the line it's there. If our Anonymous Coward can't get over the fact that what Mr. Austin did was just plain wrong and wants to obsess on trivia like skin color then our Anonymous Coward will be down voted!

  5. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Proportionality

    40 years in the slammer for hacking, while rape of an unconscious woman gets you three months in county jail. America, what a country!

    1. ObSolutions, Inc
      Linux

      Re: Proportionality

      If the judge thought he'd get anywhere close to 40 years, he wouldn't have let him get out on a 50k bail.

      About a year plus/minus some community service sounds more likely.

    2. Blake St. Claire

      Re: Proportionality

      It's only ten years[1]. Not sure where El Reg came up with 40.

      A _white_ man raping an unconscious woman may get off with three months. But if a black man does it it's a different story. Yeah, but Buzz Windrip will fix all that. Or not.

      [1] https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndca/pr/florida-computer-programmer-arrested-hacking

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Proportionality

        But if a black man does it it's a different story.

        In what sense?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Proportionality

          > "In what sense?"

          > 2 downvotes

          WHY!

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Proportionality

            If any racial group (other than whites naturally) is mentioned in any way that could be taken as even slightly denigrating by the hand wringing liberal bedwetters that infest this site, then their knee jerk reaction is to immediately downvote. Ditto if you criticise them since liberalism is now a religion, not a point of view and it cannot, nay must not be gainsaid.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Proportionality

              @boltar - and the rational other side is represented by Herr Trump. Those irrational dirty liberals with their facts and science.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Proportionality

          "But if a black man does it it's a different story."

          "In what sense?"

          it's a common urban legend that police and the justice system 'in general' acts like the KKK and disproportionally arrests and incarcerates blacks compared to other races (in particular, caucasians). It's generally promoted by Saul Alinsky types to stir up 'the masses' and cause riots and demonstrations over something that's not happening, particularly through ridiculous *RACIST* groups like 'Black Lives Matter'. Even the name of that group is an 'emotion bomb'. None of their claims have ANY basis whatsoever. It's just trying to get people to *FEEL* instead of THINK, so they'll pull the 'D' (aka 'Demo-Rat') lever at the ballot box, and to create CHAOS and CONFUSION and STRIFE, so that 'the left' can take more power.

          It's completely unjustified "feeling-based" uninformed "made it all up" racist nonsense from the left.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Proportionality

            >it's a common urban legend

            Uh no its fact. - http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1985377

            Then again your post screams low information voter so don't expect you to have much use for that high fa-looting science. Your ilk can't wait to make Waiting for the Worms reality.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. Naselus

                Re: Proportionality

                ""Low-information voter" actually means "does not respond to propaganda""

                Propaganda =/= information.

          2. Potemkine Silver badge

            Re: Proportionality

            blacks compared to other races

            There's only one, the Human Race.

          3. 1Rafayal

            Re: Proportionality

            @bombastic_bib

            Whats wrong with you?

      2. Richard 26

        Re: Proportionality

        "It's only ten years."

        10 years per count, 4 counts - in the unlikely event that he was convicted and got the maximum for all 4 counts to be served consecutively.

        1. Boo Radley

          Re: Proportionality

          This is a federal crime. Theres a big book with tables and stuff that take into consideration the severity of the crime, the loss or potential loss to the victim, the age and past criminal record of the accused, whether drugs were involved, and a few other variables. Then the judge simply runs his finger down the appropriate column and it tells him a range, in months, to give as the sentence. The judge can go outside the guidlines, both over and under, if he feels there is reason to do so. He won't get anywhere near 40 years, probably closer to 72 minths, of which he must serve 85% before release for "good time"

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Proportionality

      "40 years in the slammer for hacking, while rape of an unconscious woman gets you three months in county jail. America, what a country!"

      that's because Mrs. Clinton won't be his l[aw]yer (nor will OJ's l[aw]yer, probably). Mrs. Clinton managed to get a child rapist off (early in her career) with a simple 'inappropriate touching' kind of charge, then BRAGGED about it in an interview, laughing, etc.. Sad part: she used the "she was asking for it" defense against a 12 year old KID, putting the VICTIM on trial, etc.. Yeah, not much for 'proportionality'.

      An article about that

      (and of course we can look at the OJ trial for another good example)

      'L[aw]yer' Up!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Innocent till proven guilty', but....

    ....burn him with fire anyway!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 'Innocent UNLESS proven guilty', but....

      See subject. FTFY

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Austin's goal, according to the prosecution, was to get early access to Linux builds.

    Errm… isn't that pretty much just a case of monitoring the git trees and linux-kernel@vger.kernel.org?

    Pretty sure if he was looking for binary builds, those servers are completely the wrong place, I'd suspect most kernel devs would be using their own equipment (laptops, desktops, personal servers) to do builds on.

    Did he think he was cracking Microsoft?

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Austin's goal, according to the prosecution, was to get early access to Linux builds.

      Perhaps they mean 'write access' rather than just access ?

      As in 'infect early, infect often'.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Adrian 4 Re: Austin's goal, according to the prosecution.....

        "....As in 'infect early...." Or so he could sell access to modules to e-crims before their release, so the e-crims could find zero days and embed their own nasties.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: Adrian 4 Re: Austin's goal, according to the prosecution.....

          Yeah, presumably. As alleged in the prosecution's court filing: "One of AUSTIN'S goals was to gain access to the software distributed through the www.kernel.org website."

          C.

  8. DanceMan

    The 40 years vs. 3 months comparison is bogus, confusing a possible but highly unlikely maximum sentence with an actual sentence. Anyone who pays attention knows that the American system, and I won't call it justice, works by threatening wildly severe sentences and getting a plea bargain.

    In this case I would applaud this asshole getting multiple years behind bars. He's a drag on a properly functioning society.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      >He's a drag on a properly functioning society.

      Exactly, he attacked software freedom, absolutely no empathy ... whatsoever.

  9. kain preacher Silver badge

    just make him take 12 months of verbal abuse from linus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, better verbal abuse from linus than physical abuse of anus.

      (What? Bad taste? C'mon this was writing itself!)

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      12 months? I doubt would last 12 minutes

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So... 40 years, or even 1 year in jail, seems a lot of time for changing bits on an internet accessible server. How about the responsibilities of the server admins? Shouldn't such admins have put some effort in preventing script-kiddies from accessing their apparently very important servers that apparently had no copies or backups anywhere? How many years of jail should the guy get that delivers a future faulty hard disk because he did not carefully evade that bump with his Deliveroo bike?

    The US has the largest percentage of people in jails in the world, but still crime rates are much higher than many other countries. Of course that is why they allow themselves to have guns at home - same reasoning - to protect themselves from one of the highest uses of gun-violence in the world.

    To prevent future hacking of open source goodies, Kindergarten teachers should be told to shoot at elementary school kids if they try to attack the kindergarten lunch computer, maybe than this nasty hacking problem might finally stop and a lot of money on education and employment of server admins can be saved?

  11. wikkity

    accused of leaving messages on the system for others to find

    Is that illegal now? I hope no one sees the note on what we need from the shops that I left for my wife this morning.

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