Boston College student uses keystroke capturing software to capture passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information

Incident Date: April 2002
Incident Location: Boston MA USA

Douglas Boudreau plead guilty in federal court on April 17, 2003 to charges of interception of wire communications, unauthorized access to a computer system, larceny, identity fraud, and other charges. Judge Carol S. Ball sentenced him to five years of probation and ordered him to go into counseling, pay restitution to the school, and agree to computer monitoring.

Mr. Boudreau was indicted on February 6, 2003 by a Middlesex County, Massachusetts grand jury for installing keystroke logging software on computers on the Boston College (bc.edu) campus. The former Boston College student, a senior computer science major, then used the keystroke logs to harvest personal data on thousands of University computer users. He was charged with six counts of interception of wire communications, eight counts of unauthorized access to a computer system, two counts each of larceny over $250, identity fraud, and breaking and entering.

The indictments contend that Mr. Boudreau secretly installed the keystroke logging software on more than 100 computers around the Boston College campus beginning in April 2002. Most computers were located in public areas and used by many students, faculty, and staff. He was able to watch these people enter passwords for email, computer access, and online banking and then compile personal information on approximately 4,800 individuals. In addition, he gathered computer passwords, confidential access codes to college buildings, credit card numbers, and social security numbers of 685 people.

Mr. Boudreau was able to change the information on his identification card to match the identities of other students captured with the software. Using this information, he charged approximately $2,000 to the accounts of other students. The charges were for goods and services, such as books, meals, and laundry expenses. However, prosecutors are not accusing Boudreau of fraudulent credit card purchases or attempting to profit from selling any information he allegedly gathered.

Mr. Boudreau used intercepted Boston Campus building access codes to gain unauthorized access to the Student Life Center. He used these opportunities to steal additional student identification cards and install keystroke monitoring software on additional computers.

Boston College detected the illicit use of the identification cards at the bookstore where Mr. Boudreau is accused of making purchases charged to other students. The university suspended him in October of 2002 and notified local prosecutors. One person at Boston College says the attorney generalís office exaggerated Mr. Boudreauís accomplishments in an attempt to promote the situation as a high profile test case against the use of keystroke logging programs.


Story Sources

Title: Student charged with massive ID fraud
Author: John Leyden
Date: 2/7/2003
Publication: The Register
Publication Location: United Kingdom
Publication URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/29233.html

Title: Ex-student accused of spying on campus
Author: Declan McCullagh
Date: 2/6/2003
Publication: CNET News.com
Publication Location: USA
Publication URL: http://news.com.com/2100-1023-983717.html?tag=fd_top

Title: Former BC Student Pleads Guilty To Charges He Hacked Into BC Camput Computers And Gathered Personal Info Of Thousands
Author:
Date: 4/17/2003
Publication: U.S. Attorney Press Release
Publication Location: Boston MA USA
Publication URL: http://www.ago.state.ma.us/txt/bc2.htm


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