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Back-Hacker Awarded; Informed Sandia Did Hard To Keep Investigation Quiet

Shawn Carpenter was awarded $4.3 million by a jury in New Mexico in February 2007 as a part of the unjust termination case against Sandia National Laboratories where Shawn had served as a network intrusion detection analyst. Shawn was dismissed in early '05 because he shared some information on network exploitation with US Army and FBI. Sandia is operated by a Lockheed Martin Corp.'s subsidiary under a contract with US Dept. of Energy. Sandia claimed that Shawn had wrongly revealed confidential information.

However, Carpenter has a different take on the matter. He said that he did it for national security after employing the techniques of reverse hacking to find proof that the hackers of the May '04 infringement at Sandia were from Titan Rain, a hacking group from China.

He added that he came to know that the similar Trojan had attacked secure networks of many defense contractors and Army bases all over the country. So he contacted his bosses to show the evidences he had gathered and ask their permission to 'backhack' the hackers to discover their origin.

In mid-Feb., a spokesperson from Sandia had refused to respond to particular charges, but told that Sandia is let down by the jury's verdict and may appeal. He repeated earlier assertion by Sandia that Shawn crossed the clear limits, as reported by time.com.

On being asked what prompted him to conduct an independent probe into infringement at Sandia by an interviewer from Computerworld on March 5, '07, Shawn responded that as a network intrusion-detection analyst, he usually used similar techniques of backhacking to recover pilfered password files of Sandia and retrieve proof to help in system and network exploitation investigations. He added that they were able to better protect their networks due to direct results they gained. He wrote detailed analyses of those intrusions.

He was then asked about his reaction to the verdict of jury in his case. To it, he said that it is almost certain that Sandia will file a petition and drag the case for years. Moreover, Sandia have no reason to solve the case as they taxpayers are paying the bill.

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