In US first, court convicts female hacker

The first woman convicted of computer hacking in the US was sentenced last month for trashing a US Coast Guard personnel database. The woman, a former Coast Guard employee, was sentenced to five months in jail plus five months of house arrest and was ordered to pay US$35,000 restitution for destroying information and crashing the system last year.

The first woman convicted of computer hacking in the US was sentenced last month for trashing a US Coast Guard personnel database.

The woman, a former Coast Guard employee, was sentenced to five months in jail plus five months of house arrest and was ordered to pay US$35,000 restitution for destroying information and crashing the system last year.

In March, in US District Court in Washington, Shakuntla Devi Singla, 43, of Fairfax Station, Virginia, pleaded guilty to accessing a federal computer without authorisation and intentionally causing damage. It took 115 Coast Guard employees, including network administrators, more than 1,800 hours to restore the lost data, a spokesman for the U.S. District Attorney’s office in Washington said. The recovery effort cost $40,000.

Singla used another employee’s password and identification to gain remote access to the Coast Guard’s personnel database from her home last July, according to Lisa Martin, a spokeswoman for the FBI. Singla then deleted personnel information, including pay, promotions, awards and employee transfers from the database, Martin said. “It’s the first time a woman has been convicted of hacking,” she said, “though women have been charged with hacking before.”

Singla couldn’t be reached for comment. But her attorney, Nancy Luque of Washington, said Singla acted out of frustration that her attempts to report contractor improprieties were ignored.

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