A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said Lamo appeared at 2 p.m. PT before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Hollows and was released to his parents after they posted a $250,000 bond. Lamo is not allowed to use a computer and must “report to the FBI in New York City” on Thursday morning to face a formal arraignment.
Since last week, Lamo and his defense attorney have stressed that he was willing to cooperate with federal police if they revealed the contents of a sealed complaint that described the charges.
Lamo, something of a legend among hackers for his brazen exploits, media savvy and rootless lifestyle, is facing two criminal charges. One is related to his admitted intrusions into The New York Times’ network, and the other deals with his alleged misuse of a Lexis-Nexis account, said Mary French, a deputy public defender in Sacramento who is representing Lamo.
In the New York Times incident in February 2002, Lamo was able to view employee records–including Social Security numbers–and access the contact information for the paper’s sources and columnists, including well-known contributors such as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Marine Officer Oliver North and hip-hop artist Queen Latifah. He also has claimed break-ins at technology companies including, Microsoft, Yahoo and WorldCom (now known as MCI).
Besides his radically mobile lifestyle that often found him logged in through a Starbucks wireless connection, Lamo is known for his singularly altruistic style of hacking. He stressed that he’s never deleted any data or asked for money in exchange for identifying security vulnerabilities. Some companies, in fact, have thanked him for telling them about holes in their network that a malicious intruder could use to wreak havoc.
Lamo’s earlier exploits, which he typically disclosed, include breaking into WorldCom in December 2001, Microsoft in October 2001, Yahoo in September 2001 and Excite@Home in May 2001. When he reportedly entered Yahoo’s system, Lamo found he was able to alter news articles on the company’s site and tampered with one describing accused copyright felon Dmitry Skylyarov’s court travails.