Man arrested for hacking into Livermore lab

The Associated Press
Tuesday September 12, 2000

The Associated Press 


SAN FRANCISCO — A Minnesota man suspected of hacking into a computer at the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory last year was arrested Monday. 

Benjamin Troy Breuninger, 21, was taken into custody at his Bloomington, Minn., home by federal agents on a charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer and recklessly causing damage. 

He was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury in Oakland for breaking into a computer at the national laboratory run by the University of California. 

“Fortunately, he didn’t access secret or classified government documents, but he did gain access to the lab’s administrative network and disrupted the use of it,” said FBI spokesman Andrew Black. 

The hacking, twice in November, caused an estimated $50,000 in damage and took about a week to fix,  

Black said. Malicious hacks, like the one into the laboratory’s computers, are rare. 

“Most hackers do not destroy or steal information,” he said. “They’re more curious. Malicious hackers are in the minority.” 

Black said the FBI and Department of Energy tracked the intrusion to Breuninger. 

Breuninger was released Monday on $25,000 bail after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge E.S. Swearingen in federal court in Minneapolis. No plea was entered. 

Prosecutors are working to bring him to California.