A Minnesota hacker prosecutors described as a “depraved criminal” was handed an 18-year prison term Tuesday for unleashing a vendetta of cyberterror that turned his neighbors’ lives into a living nightmare.
Barry Ardolf, 46, repeatedly hacked into his next-door neighbors’ Wi-Fi network in 2009, and used it to try and frame them for child pornography, sexual harassment, various kinds of professional misconduct and to send threatening e-mail to politicians, including Vice President Joe Biden.
His motive was to get back at his new neighbors after they told the police he’d kissed their 4-year-old son on the lips.
His reign of terror over his neighbors included making death threats to Vice President Biden, planting child porn on a facebook page, and other harassing acts, all made possible once he was able to crack into his victim’s wireless network. By gaining access to his neighbor’s computer network and taking no steps to hide his identity, all the harassing emails, death threats against Vice President Biden, etc. could all be traced back to his neighbor’s home network.
His neighbors thought they had protected their home wireless network, but they employed a technology commonly referred to as WEP, one of the oldest security protocols for protecting Wi-Fi traffic – it is also one of the easiest to crack into.
If you are unsure how to protect your home wireless network, here is a link to a guide from a site I trust, arstechnica.com – The ABCs of securing your wireless network.