Florida man arrested for hacking into Bay Area computer servers

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A computer programmer was arrested in Florida Sunday on suspicion of damaging four servers in the Bay Area, according to U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Donald Ryan Austin, a 27-year-old Florida resident, is suspected of installing malicious software on the servers.

He allegedly gained unauthorized access to the servers operated by the Linux Kernel Organization by using another person’s credentials, officials said.

Austin used that access to install malicious rootkit and Trojan software, in addition to other changes.

Austin first appeared in federal court in Miami on Aug. 29. He was released on $50,000 bail Thursday.

His next scheduled appearance is in San Francisco, at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim.

If convicted, Austin faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each intentional transmission causing damage to a protected computer.

Austin is suspected of committing four counts of such transmissions.

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