Feds Confirm Cardinals Accessed Astros System With Old Password, File Unauthorized Access Charges

from the the-cardinal-way dept

Sports fans in the city of St. Louis are having a rough go of it lately. Fresh on the heels of losing their football team to Los Angeles, now we are learning that the federal government has charged former Cardinals scouting director Christopher Correa with unauthorized access into the Houston Astros computer systems. While some had speculated that the government would go after the Cardinals under the Economic Espionage Act, it's beginning to look like our original assumption that the CFAA would be the tool the government would wield has been proven correct. Also appearing to be correct were reports that the "hacking" that took place in this instance was of the less hack-y variety and more of the let's-try-the-guy's-old-password-y.

Correa illegally accessed the Astros' computers in the following way: In December 2011, as Victim A prepared to leave the St. Louis Cardinals and join the Houston Astros, he was directed to turn over his Cardinals-owned laptop to Correa -- along with the laptop's password. When Victim A joined the Astros, he re-used a similar (albeit obscure) password for his Astros' email and Ground Control accounts. No later than March 2013, Correa began accessing Victim A's Ground Control and Astros' email accounts using this variation of the password to Victim A's Cardinals laptop.
Note that Victim A is Jeff Luhnow, now Astros General Manager and former Cardinals employee, while Ground Control is the name for the Astros' player scouting database. As far as competitive information goes, this is the treasure chest for any baseball team. At the court hearing, Correa entered a plea of guilty, claiming that he only accessed the Astros' systems because he believed that propietary information from the Cardinals' club had been taken first. Correa followed that up by admitting that such reasoning was "stupid."

And indeed it is stupid, given the penalties that can be assessed for his crime.
The parties agreed that Correa masked his identity, his location and the type of device that he used, and that the total intended loss for all of the intrusions is approximately $1.7 million.

Each conviction of unauthorized access of a protected computer carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Given the plea deal, and the fact that Correa isn't a young man pushing back at the government in trying to change the world, I expect that the jail time will be minimal if any. Which is probably unfortunate, because as far as CFAA cases go, this is one where actual crimes have been committed.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 12:18am

    If only the government was liable for all the secured computers it has accessed. Oh wait, taxpayers would pay that bill. Never mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 5:00am

    In related news, the stadium built for the football team is not yet paid off. Way to go dumbass politicians.

    If you want us to buy you a stadium, the least you could do is stick around long enough to help us pay it off.
    - taxpayers everywhere

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 6:55am

    Whatever .. St. louis sucks and Missouri in general sucks

    After having my paycheck taxed *extra* by the City of St. Louis just because my job at the time was within the city limits, I could care less about anything that happens there.

    And then there fact that Missouri has the *lowest* state tax on cigarettes which in turn makes it easier for people to keep choosing to smoke. You have never seen such a moronic public debate on raising taxes in your life as the one that was had on cigarette tax. Translation: tax hardworking, normal people extra instead of raising taxes on the people making poor life choices.

    And then there is the general pro-union culture along with a general quid pro quid mentality. ugh. idiots.

    Want to be stripped of alot cash quickly? Attend a baseball game at Busch Stadium. There is no way I would take my whole family to a game. The cost to benefit ratio needle is pegged in the insane range.

    Want to see jackbooted nazis at work? Try taking pictures or video on the MetroLink. "Oh its our private-wyivate property and we's dont like you doing that."

    Want to see people walking around in the middle of the freaking street for no good reason? Drive around anywhere in North St. Louis.

    Want a higher cost of living? Live in Missouri. My current 2k sq ft 135K 3/2/2 could not be touched for less than at the time, highly likely the spread is worse now) 225k.

    The only good thing that happened to us while we lived there is the U2 360 concert.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Jan 2016 @ 7:13am

      Re: Whatever .. St. louis sucks and Missouri in general sucks

      Missouri's got a long history as the cesspool of the Midwest. Not only was it a slave state back in the day, this is the state where it was legal for nearly 140 years to kill Mormons, in open defiance of the First Amendment and basic due process. (Sure, at the end it was more of a "technically it's still on the books but don't actually do it" thing, but it did stay on the books that long, throughout most of the 20th century, and it was not that way at the start.)

      Want to see people walking around in the middle of the freaking street for no good reason? Drive around anywhere in North St. Louis.

      Well then their football team should feel right at home in LA. (Although down there they only do it at red lights; no one's crazy to walk around through moving traffic, but seeing people walking up and down between lanes of stopped cars is common.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 7:33am

      Re: Whatever .. St. louis sucks and Missouri in general sucks

      I live in Metro East, aka Illinois across the river. I'm addicted to baseball and the Cardinals (well... Molina), but haven't been to a game since '05. Just no reason to deal with it. So little reason that I had some really nice (read: mind-numbingly expensive) tickets to that U2 360 show, and decided that crap roads, crap parking, and Metrolink were so unpleasant that I gave them to my ex-wife. Stayed home & read a book.

      No point here, just that St Louis deserves random criticism. It might actually get better w/o football, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 7:55am

      Re: Whatever .. St. louis sucks and Missouri in general sucks

      --tax hardworking, normal people extra instead of raising taxes on the people making poor life choices.

      Do you realize that the majority of people who smoke are less educated and earn less money?
      http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/resources/data/cigarette-smoking-in-united-states.htm l

      Do you advocate that poorer less educated people should pay more in taxes? Thats what happens when so called sin taxes are raised.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Jan 2016 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Whatever .. St. louis sucks and Missouri in general sucks

        No, he advocates that people making bad decisions should pay more in taxes. There are still plenty of poorer, less educated people who don't smoke, and even though you do, unsurprisingly, statistically see people making really stupid choices more often among the less-educated segment of society, there are still also plenty of educated and wealthy people who do smoke.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Jan 2016 @ 7:02am

    Wow. St. Louis's team actually moved to LA?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 7:36am

    I don't see what the big deal is. Correa was on second.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 8:10am

    Lighten up on St. Louis. The cost of a game in St. Louis is still much cheaper than going to a Yankee or Met game. Your $225K wouldn't get you nearly 2K square feet, and you wouldn't have a yard either. Oh, and you would probably be living in the ghetto.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 9:04am

    Hey, St. Louis still has the arch, that has to count for something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      Little Known Fact: Eero Saarinen was originally contracted by Basel, Switzerland to design a monument to Leonhard Euler. When funding fell through, Saarinen flipped the blueprints upside-down and palmed 'em off on St. Louis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Jan 2016 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re:

        Interesting. Do you have a source for that?

        Kind of reminds me of the story of the architect who wanted to build what he thought would be a magnificent tower in Barcelona, Spain for the World's Fair in 1888, but the people there rejected it and said it was too ugly. So he moved on and decided to pitch it in Paris, France, for the World's Fair in 1989. Everyone in Paris said it was ugly too, but in the end they relented and decided to let him set it up, on the condition that it be taken down again once the fair was over. That ended up not happening, though, because it turned out to be too expensive to demolish.

        Parisians' public opinion of the aesthetic and cultural value of Gustave Eiffel's architecture has changed somewhat since then. ;)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Things like the Eiffel Tower & a couple things by Tsereteli* were the inspiration for my intentionally apocryphal story about the Arch. I was going to go with an absurdly silly 'origin story', but I wound up with one that was disappointingly believable. It's hard to make a joke about catenary curves. Maybe I should've gone with Hooke...

          * - His Peter the Great monument is... interesting looking. Moscow is still trying to trick people into accepting it as a 'gift'.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 20 Jan 2016 @ 4:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I was going to go with an absurdly silly 'origin story', but I wound up with one that was disappointingly believable.

            Don't worry, I didn't believe it! There's no way the arch would hold up upside down. They had a hard enough time completing it right side up. During final construction, the sun was heating one side more than the other, making it expand more, which made it difficult to line up for the final joining.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2016 @ 12:32pm

    FEDS......chill.....calm down man.........their one of us....so its now magically cool and "legal"

    Now go find those doing the same thing or less worse, that we are doing.......that is'nt us doing it........THEIR the bad guys

    Me: APPARENTLY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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