News

Man Pleads Guilty to USC Hack

A San Diego man was so upset that the University of Southern California did not admit him as a student that he hacked into the school's application system and stole other would-be students' personal information, he admitted in court.

Eric McCarty, 24, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony count of accessing a protected computer without authorization and was scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 4. Under terms of a plea bargain with prosecutors, he is expected to receive six months of home detention and pay nearly $37,000 in restitution.

In June 2005, McCarty accessed identification numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth and applicants' passwords to the USC site, according to the government. Federal investigators found information on seven different people on McCarty's home computer, which they seized.

After the break-in, McCarty created a new e-mail account using the sign-on "ihackedusc". Prosecutors said he used that account to send messages explaining what he had done to a reporter at the Web site securityfocus.com. The reporter contacted university officials.

Authorities said McCarty also boasted and joked about his accomplishment on his blog.

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