Cybercrime Review 2013 - Who is Who: Jonathan Cunningham, 29, and Alyson Cunningham, 25, Sentenced to Probation and Community Service in Computer Hacking Case

On October 18th, 2013, both got sentenced to Probation and Community Service in a Computer Hacking Case, United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence. Both were  sentenced to 3 years probation; each to pay restitution of 2.445.96 USD to the victim law firm; 300 hours community service; computer monitoring; and they have to notify any employer of this conviction.
Judge Cercone

On November 28th, 2011, Cunningham had been fired from a law firm located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, referred here to as "VG," (Voelker & Gricks). In retaliation for the firing, Matthew J. West, acting at Alyson and Jonathan Cunningham's encouragement, logged into VG servers using an internal company password provided to him by Alyson Cunningham over Facebook. West utilized a VPN proxy server located in Germany to use the password to access VG servers, so as to shield his identity. Once West accessed the server, he installed software on the server which could be used to capture passwords of anyone on the companys network.

The following day, West sent a partner at VG law firm an e-mail from the account that stated that the firm’s web servers had been compromised and that their backup files had been copied and deleted. This e-mail, which was used to notify the victim company of the hack caused by the usage of the illegally trafficked password, electronically traveled from West’s computer in Pennsylvania to Google’s servers in California before arriving back at VG’s server in Pennsylvania. The e-mail further stated that “we are not interested in ruining your business, but routinely checking that business is fair and just. Our motive is to solely capture and record 100% of Pittsburgh business records and operations and protect it or use it against you as we could if Anonymous had a reason and needed to.” (Anonymous is a loosely connected network of computer hacker/activists who are known to intrude upon computer networks for political purposes).

According to the victim company VG, neither Alyson Cunningham, Johnathan Cunningham, or Matthew West had authority to access their computer server, nor did they have authority to place malware onto VG's servers.

Internet chats indicate that Jonathan Cunningham was actively communicating with West during the hack into VG's servers, providing instruction and suggestions, including suggesting the use of specific VPN servers. When IM chatting with West on the night of the hack, Jonathan Cunningham and Alyson Cunningham alternated in their use of Alysons Skype account when communicating with West about the hack.

“I’m deeply sorry for the fear that I caused and any inconvenience I might have done to them,” Mr. West told U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone.

In addition to probation during which his computer use will be monitored by federal officers, Mr. West must pay 2.445 USD in restitution to the law firm and perform 250 hours of community service. Mr. West said he would pay the restitution immediately, prompting the judge to sentence him to two years of probation rather than three.

The Cunninghams each, were sentenced to three years of probation during which federal agents can monitor their home computer use and were barred from having Apple smartphones.

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