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Former Seattle Tech Worker Guilty In Scheme To Steal Data, Mine Crypto


SEATTLE, WA —A former Seattle tech worker was convicted Friday of seven federal crimes connected to a scheme that involved hacking and stealing data and computer power to mine cryptocurrency, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington

Paige A. Thompson, 36, who also was known as “erratic,” was found guilty by a jury of wire fraud and five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer and damaging a protected computer. The jury, which deliberated for 10 hours, found Thompson not guilty of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, authorities said.

Thompson, who was arrested in 2019 after Capital One alerted the FBI to her hacking activity, is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on September 15.

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Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while illegally accessing a protected computer and damaging a protected computer is punishable by up to five years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Thompson used her hacking skills to steal the personal information of more than 100 million people, and hijacked computer servers to mine cryptocurrency,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. “Far from being an ethical hacker trying to help companies with their computer security, she exploited mistakes to steal valuable data and sought to enrich herself.”

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According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, prosecutors in the trial showed how Thompson used a tool she built to scan Amazon Web services accounts to look for misconfigured accounts. Thompson then used the misconfigured accounts to hack in and download the data of more than 30 entities, including Capital One.

Prosecutors then showed how Thompson planted cryptocurrency mining software on new servers with the income from the mining going to her online wallet.

According to court records, prosecutors used many of Thompson’s own words from texts and online chats to make their case against the defendant.

“She wanted data, she wanted money, and she wanted to brag,” Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Friedman said in closing arguments, according to court records.

Authorities said the intrusion into Capital One accounts impacted more than 100 million U.S. customers. The company was fined $80 million and settled customer lawsuits for $190 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said

The case was investigated by the FBI Seattle Cyber Task Force.


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