Also known across the interwebs as cOmrade, Jonathan James was the first juvenile convicted and jailed for hacking in the United States. At the age of 15, James hacked into several companies back in 1999 including Bell South, the Miami-Dade school system and a little organization called the United States Department of Defense. He didn’t really mess much up, but did read sensitive information, including the source code that made the International Space Station work.
After the intrusion was detected, NASA shut down their computers for three weeks to investigate for a loss of $41,000. James was arrested on January 26, 2000, later plea-bargained and was sentenced to house arrest and probation. He violated that probation by failing a drug test and later served six months in an Alabama prison.
In 2007, several companies including Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Office Max and others were victims of a massive computer system hack. While James denied any involvement, he was investigated in connection with the crimes. On May 18, 2008, James was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to his suicide note, he was bothered by a loss of faith in the justice system and convinced he would be prosecuted.
Between August 23, 1999, and October 27, 1999, James committed a series of intrusions into various systems, including those of BellSouth and the Miami-Dade school system. What brought him to the attention of federal authorities, however, was his intrusion into the computers of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the United States Department of Defense, the primary function of which is to analyze potential threats to the United States of America, both at home and abroad. James later admitted to authorities that he had installed an unauthorized backdoor in a computer server in Dulles, Virginia, which he used to install a sniffer that allowed him to intercept over three thousand messages passing to and from DTRA employees, along with numerous usernames and passwords of other DTRA employees, including at least 10 on official military computers.