Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cyber-terrorism stupidity: he thought he could get away with it!

Barry Ardolf thought he could get away with it. He thought he was smart. Thought he was better then his neighbors, the cops, the Secret Service, and so on. He thought he could use a computer to terrorize a family he didn't like. He thought he could reject the plea-deal which would have given him two years in jail.

What happened was this: in Blaine, Minnesota Matt and Bethany Kostolnik were his neighbors, and sometime in 2008 their four year-old some wandered across the street to Ardolf's place. Ardolf picked up the kid, took him back to the parents, but before releasing him he planted a big wet kiss on the kid, right on the lips. The Kostolinks called the cops, who did the standard interview, but instead of taking it for what it was worth, Ardolf decided he was going to play the terrorist.

According to the complaint, he downloaded a piece of hacking software and used it to break into the Kostolnick's secure wi-fi network. Having access to that network enabled Ardolf to create accounts based on Kostolnik's name, including Myspace, fake email accounts, etc. From there he downloaded child pornography, placed them not only in Kostolnik's name, but sent them to the place of business where Kostolnik worked, a law firm.

As if that wasn't enough, Ardolf decided he was going to make threats against others in Kostolnik's name. One such letter was sent to Vice President Joe Biden, prompting a little visit to the Kostolnik residence by the Secret Service. They take it seriously when some says to Biden "I swear to God I'm going to kill you!"

Naturally, Kostolnik - the real man - had no clue as to what was going on, so he got his law firm to take action, and action they did. It involved a computer firm with a packet sniffer, a software version of a bloodhound. Didn't take long for the sniffer to trace the problem to Ardolf's door, which was enough for the Feds to get a search warrant.

And the rest was a slam-dunk. Facing charges of threatening public officials, kiddie porn, identity theft, cyber-terrorism, Ardolf was facing two years, according to the plea deal offered him in 2010. He rejected it, thinking he could win in the trial. Yesterday, he got eighteen years in prison. And Kostolinik got his good name back.

The moral of the story is this: computers and stupidity just don't mix!