Threat Management, Threat Management

Member of group that hacked Farmers Insurance, DirecTV, sentenced to 3 years

A New York man, who pleaded guilty last June to conspiring to attack computer systems belonging to private companies and a government agency in Los Angeles, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

According to a Friday Associated Press article, Mario Chuisano of Staten Island, N.Y., admitted that he was a member of the hacker group SwaggSec and that he helped the collective attack the systems of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Farmers Insurance and DirecTV between 2012 and 2013. Chuisano, 32, was sentenced Thursday in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, where he was also ordered to pay nearly $2.7 million in restitution.

AP reported that, in the Los Angeles government hack alone, SwaggSec stole identity and health information and emails for more than 3,000 people.

In court documents filed last July (PDF), federal prosecutors said that Chuisano and co-conspirators installed a remote access trojan (RAT) on a Farmers insurance agent's computer, giving the group unauthorized access to the company's servers so they could steal “confidential information related to Farmers, including reports and documents related to California sales agents as well as thousands of sent and received emails and passwords.”

Afterwards, the stolen information was shared via a SwaggSec Twitter account, court documents said.

In the public works department hack, court documents revealed that Chuisano and co-conspirators exploited vulnerabilities in ColdFusion in order to steal confidential health and personal data. The group also gained unauthorized access to four engineering servers belonging to DirecTV, which were located in Brazil, prosecutors said.

Last year, Chuisano also pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, in addition to the conspiracy to damage a protected computer charge.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.