'Deceptive Duo' hacker charged

Tuesday, 4 May 2004, 1:50 PM EST

A Florida man has been charged in federal court in Washington DC for his alleged role as one half of the high-profile hacking team "The Deceptive Duo" - responsible for defacing dozens of governmental and private websites with patriotically-themed messages exhorting the US to shore up cyber defenses.

Benjamin Stark, 22, faces a single count of breaking into and damaging computers in concert with an "unnamed individual" in the spring of 2002. A second unrelated count accuses him of trafficking in stolen credit card numbers a year earlier. The charges are in the form of an "information", rather than an indictment, which legal experts say telegraphs that Stark has likely entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. A spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Washington declined to comment on the case. Reached by telephone, Stark referred inquiries to his mother, who also declined comment.

By Kevin Poulsen at The Register.

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