20-year-old charged in Seattle hospital computer system crash

Interesting news over the weekend from the Seattle area, where a 20-year-old guy has been charged with crashing a local hospital computer system.

The guy, Christopher Maxwell of California, has been summonsed to appear in a Seattle federal court later next week, on charges that his attack allegedly crippled a hospital's computers, including its intensive care systems, as well as taking down a doctor's paging system.

Prosecutors says that two under-age people have also been prosecuted in connection with the case, in which around 13,000 computers were allegedly infected by Maxwell and his pals in the summer of 2004.

According to the Associated Press, Northwest Hospital and Medical Centre, a 187-bed non-profit facility in Seattle, was attacked in January of last year.

The newswire says that, although backup systems prevented patient care from being compromised, patient's lives were endangered and computer repairs cost about $150,000.

Prosecutors said the three conspirators used `botnet' attack programs that allowed hackers to infect and control a computer network, which then allowed them to install unwanted Internet advertising software, a task that reportedly earned them about $100,000.

If found guilty on conspiracy charges, Maxwell could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hmmm - let's see now. Yup, that $100,000 won't stretch that far...