Washtenaw County, Mich., Hacker Sentenced to 7 Years

The 27-year-old hacker accessed the personal information of more than 1,600 former and current employees and changed the release date for a county jail inmate. In all, the cyberattack cost the county more than $235,000.

by Darcie Moran, The Ann Arbor News / April 30, 2018
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(TNS) -- ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A man who cost Washtenaw County more than $235,000 by hacking into the county's computer system will serve seven years in federal prison for his crime, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Konrads Voits, 27, pleaded guilty through a plea agreement in December 2017 to one count of damaging a protected computer, federal court records show. He was sentenced in federal court Thursday, April 26, according to AP.

Voits accessed personal information of more than 1,600 former and current county employees, according to a federal sentencing memorandum. He also changed the release date of a county jail inmate, authorities said, a move that was caught by a sheriff's employee who manually checked the records.

The breach, and the necessary response, cost the county at least $235,517, according to federal prosecutors.

In a victim's impact statement, Washtenaw County Risk Manager Judy Kramer said every person impacted by such a cyberattack "feels personally violated and has to suffer the uncertainty of not knowing whether their identity has been stolen or credit has been ruined."

"No one should have to feel the fear this type of attack causes," she said.

FBI investigators believe Voits, in spring 2017, registered a fraudulent website, sent spear phishing emails to county employees, called county employees claiming to be a county IT employee, used a malicious software code to gain access to the network and exfiltrated county data to remote cloud-based servers. He also accessed search warrant affidavits, internal discipline records, and numerous county jail records, investigators said.

The hacking investigation began as a result of an arson investigation, one of a number of police probes into Voits over the years, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors say Voits, who was raised by his grandparents after his father killed his mother, has a proclivity toward violence. He has a history of mental, emotional and drug-related health concerns, but never denied understanding his actions were wrong, prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum as they advocated for time at a federal medical center.

"Hopefully, upon release, Voits will be in a position where he can use his immense skills to make society a better place," prosecutors said.

©2018 The Ann Arbor News, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.