Man accused of hijacking 90 internet accounts

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Man accused of hijacking 90 internet accounts

Telco identifies suspicious activity from personal and business accounts.

A 33-year-old Victorian man faced court today for allegedly hijacking internet accounts to download significant amounts of data and conduct other fraudulent activity.

Patrick Bernard of Hampton Park was accused of hacking into customer modems via the internet to obtain the details of more than 90 personal and business internet accounts.

Bernard was allegedly able to access the compromised accounts even after passwords were reset by the internet service provider.

He was arrested on Tuesday by the Australian Federal Police, whose High Tech Crime Investigations unit was approached by a "major telecommunications company" in September.

The telco reported having identified "significant suspicious activity within their network".

A number of telcos contacted by iTnews declined to comment on the case as it is before the court.

Police seized "an amount of computer equipment" on Tuesday. Bernard faced charges of "unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit a serious offence".

Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan urged the public to choose strong passwords for online accounts, and to update those passwords regularly.

Passwords should be "a combination of capital letters, numbers and symbols to ensure they are difficult to decipher", he said.

Bernard was scheduled to face the Dandenong Magistrates Court for a mention hearing today. Court listings indicated that no plea has been taken.

The police originally indicated that the hearing would take place on Wednesday.

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