Intel 'hacker' has charges quashed after 12 years

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Intel 'hacker' has charges quashed after 12 years

Perl guru Randal Schwartz has had his conviction for hacking Intel's password files quashed, 12 years after being found guilty.

chwartz was hired by Intel as a contractor in the early 1990s and was amazed at the lax state of the company's password system.

He wrote a script that copied a password file, claiming that his intention was simply to alert Intel executives to the problem.

When questioned by police Schwartz said: "I needed the passwords in case they caught me doing it and they would shut me down. So the more passwords I had, the longer I could continue to do what I wanted to do."

Asked whether it was wrong and whether he knew that his actions violated Intel's policy, he responded: "Yes, it is, but I knew I could do it anyway."

Schwartz was fired by Intel and charged under Oregon's computer crimes legislation and convicted in 1995.

He was sentenced to five years' probation, 480 hours' community service and 90 days' deferred jail time, and was ordered to pay US$68,000 of restitution to Intel as well as a legal bill exceeding US$170,000.

Yesterday, however, after 12 years of trying, Schwartz's legal record is clean following a decision by the governor of Oregon.

"Legally, the slate is clean," he said. "Of course, this does nothing to change the minds of anyone who knows what 'really' happened', so I'll still have prejudicial action taken against me, both known and unknown. I can't change what people know to be true."

Schwartz has written two seminal works on the Perl coding language and is currently a software consultant at Stonehenge Consulting Services.
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