Former Amazon Web Services engineer Paige Thompson, who was convicted of stealing data from more than 100 million people, was sentenced on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Thompson, 37, was sentenced to time served and five years of probation, including location and computer monitoring for seven federal crimes connected to her scheme to hack into cloud computer data storage accounts and steal data and computer power for her own benefit, Nick Brown, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, said.
During Thompson’s sentencing, the U.S. district judge said her time in prison would be “particularly difficult” due to her “mental health and transgender status.”
“While we understand the mitigating factors, we are very disappointed with the court’s sentencing decision. This is not what justice looks like,” said Brown. “Ms. Thompson’s hacking and theft of information of 100 million people did more than $250 million in damage to companies and individuals. Her cybercrimes created anxiety for millions of people who are justifiably concerned about their private information. This conduct deserves a more significant sanction.”
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Thompson, aka ‘Erractic,’ was arrested in July 2019 after Capital One alerted federal investigators to her hacking activity.
Thompson was found guilty in June 2022 of wire fraud, five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer and damaging a protected computer, according to Brown.
She was not found guilty of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, prosecutors used Thompson’s own words in texts and online chats to show how she used a tool that she built to scan Amazon Web Services accounts and find “misconfigured accounts.”
Officials said she used those “misconfigured accounts” to hack in and download the data for more than 30 entities. She also “planted cryptocurrency mining software on new servers with the income from the mining going to her online wallet,” advancing her conspiracy, which she bragged about to others in texts and online forums.
Prosecutors asked the court to impose a sentence of seven years, writing, “Thompson’s crimes … were fully intentional and grounded in spite, revenge and willful disregard for the law. She exhibited a smug sense of superiority and outright glee while committing these crimes…. Thompson was motivated to make money at other people’s expense, to prove she was smarter than the people she hacked and to earn bragging rights in the hacking community.”
A hearing on Dec. 1 will be held to determine the restitution that Thompson must pay her victims.
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