Heckenkamp pleads guilty

Wednesday, 4 February 2004, 12:15 PM EST

Jerome Heckenkamp pleaded guilty Thursday to defacing the online auction house eBay and penetrating systems at the San Diego-based telecommunication equipment maker Qualcomm, ending years of pre-trial court wrangling and casting considerable doubt on his public claims of innocence.

Under the terms of his plea deal with prosecutors, Heckenkamp, 24, admitted to causing at least $70,000 in losses in a 1999 hacking spree while a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to the Qualcomm and eBay hacks -- the latter performed under the handle "MagicFX" -- Heckenkamp admitted to penetrating the systems of Exodus Communications, Juniper Networks, Lycos, and Cygnus Solutions.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend no more than two years in prison, and not to seek restrictions on Heckenkamp's employment-related use of computers and the Internet in the period of court supervision likely to follow any prison term.

By Kevin Poulsen at SecurityFocus.

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