Minnesota Hacker Gets 18 Years Prison for “Vendetta of Cyber Terror”
A Minnesota hacker was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday for using his neighbors’ wireless network without permission and then framing them for child pornography distribution and email threats against Vice President Joe Biden and other officials.
The man, 46-year-old Barry Ardolf, apparently unleashed a “vendetta of cyber terror” on his neighbors in retaliation to an accusation that he was a pedophile.
The bizarre tale began in 2009 when Matt and Bethany Kostolnik moved in the house next door to Ardolf, who at the time was a Medronic computer technician living in the Minneapolis suburb of Blaine.
On their first day at their new home, the Kostolnik’s then-4-year-old son wandered near Ardolf’s house. While carrying him back next door, Ardolf allegedly kissed the boy on the lips.
The couple promptly reported Ardolf to the police, angering their creepy new neighbor who later admitted in a letter to the judge:
“I decided to ‘get even’ by launching computer attacks against him.”
Prosecutor Timothy Rank explained that Ardolf first used Wi-Fi “hacking” software to crack the Kostolnik’s WEP encryption, then used their network to create a fake Myspace page for Mr. Kostolnik, where he uploaded a child pornography picture.
“Barry Ardolf has demonstrated by his conduct that he is a dangerous man. When he became angry at his neighbors, he vented his anger in a bizarre and calculated campaign of terror against them,” said Rank in a court filing. “Over months and months, he inflicted unfathomable psychic damage, making the victims feel vulnerable in their own home, while avoiding detection.”
Ardolf, whose house was littered with evidence of his crimes, was eventually nabbed by a forensics computer investigator working for Kostolnik’s law firm who found traffic containing Ardolf’s name and Comcast account while examining packet logs surrounding the threatening emails.
Looks like he wasn’t so 1337 after all.