Jury indicts Seattle woman in massive Capital One hack

Seattle — A federal jury on Friday convicted a former Seattle tech employee of multiple charges related to the massive hacking of Capital One Bank and other companies in 2019.

Paige Thompson, 36, a former Amazon software engineer who used the online handle “Irregular,” obtained the personal information of more than 100 million people — a data breach that affected Capital One with affected customers for a temporary $190 million. prompted to reach settlement. The Treasury Department also fined the company $80 million for failing to protect the data.

After a seven-day trial, a Seattle jury found him guilty of wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer, and damage to a protected computer. The jury acquitted him of other charges, including access device fraud and identity theft.

Thompson’s lawyers argued that she struggled with mental health issues, never intended to profit from the data she obtained, and said in the court papers “there is no credible or direct evidence that a person’s identity was misused.” it was done.”

Federal prosecutors said that he not only stole the data, but also installed software on the server, which he used to illegally steal the computing power of my cryptocurrency.

“Instead of being an ethical hacker trying to help companies protect their computers, he exploited mistakes to steal valuable data and tried to enrich himself,” Seattle U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a news release. tried.”

Wire fraud can carry up to 20 years in prison, while other charges carry a maximum sentence of five years. US District Judge Robert Lasnick will sentence Thompson in September.

In interviews with the Associated Press following his arrest, friends and colleagues described Thompson as a skilled programmer and software architect whose career and behavior — oversharing in chat groups, frequent profanity, gender-identity crisis and emotional Fluctuating expressions – reflect her online handling.

At one point, two former roommates obtained a protection order against her, saying that she was following and harassing them.

Thompson joined Amazon in 2015 to work at Amazon Web Services, a division that accessed Capital One data. He left that job the next year.

Some friends said they believed the unemployed Thompson — destitute and, by his own account, battling severe depression — believed the hack would bring him attention, respect, and a new job. could.

According to the news release, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Friedman told the jury, “She wanted the data, she wanted the money and she wanted to brag.”