A Texas man has been indicted by a federal grand jury with two counts of computer fraud for allegedly infecting computers at healthcare facilities operated by the Cook County (Ill.) Bureau of Health Services, the U.S. Attorney's office said Wednesday.
James Brewer, 23, of Arlington, Texas, was charged in the two-count indictment with operating a "botnet" in 2006 that infected the county computers, the U.S. Attorney's office said. He will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
According to the indictment, Brewer infected the computer network with a "bot" that allowed him to scan the network for computers with vulnerabilities or security weaknesses and hack into those computers, and in the process interrupting or disabling normal network communications or functions. The indictment claims that Brewer created a "botnet" or network of infected computers linked to the Internet, affecting more than 10,000 computers worldwide.
The network included computers at the Nuclear Medicine and Oncology-Radiation Therapy departments at 460-bed John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, and the pharmacy department at 450-bed Oak Forest (Ill.) Hospital, according to the indictment. The "bots" caused infected computers to repeatedly freeze or reboot without notice, causing significant delays in provision of medical services and access to data by hospital personnel.
If convicted, each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Read more (registration may be required).