In February 2003, a Texas jury acquitted a computer
security analyst by the name of Stefan Puffer, who in March 2002 was accused of
wrongfully accessing the Harris County wireless computer network. Stefan Puffer
not only discovered the vulnerability in the network
but also reported it to the Harris County district clerkÂ’s office, telling
those in the office that anyone with a wireless
network card could gain access to their sensitive Âcomputer information. In
fact, Puffer gave authorities a face-to-face demonstration of the
Instead of receiving thanks from the Harris County officials
for his warning, Puffer was indicted on fraud charges. Though he could have
received five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each offense, the
jurors hearing the case found after just 15 minutes of deliberation that Mr.
Puffer did not intend to cause any damage to the countyÂ’s systems. He was
therefore found not guilty of the charges.
2600: The Hacker Quarterly. Man
Who Exposed CountyÂ’s Wireless Insecurity Found Innocent. [Online, February 21,
2003.] 2600: The Hacker Quarterly Website.