Acxiom Hacker Gets Prison Sentence

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A former employee of an Acxiom Corp. client was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the data provider's computer system and stealing millions of data records, according to an Ohio official.


The news was released last week by the office of Gregory G. Lockhart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. The March 23 sentencing occurred in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati by Judge Susan Dlott.


In August 2003, Daniel J. Baas of Milford, OH, was charged with unlawful use of property in the theft of data in late 2002 from Acxiom, Little Rock, AR. He entered his guilty plea in December 2003.


Baas was employed by database firm and Acxiom client Market Intelligence Group LLC of Cincinnati before his dismissal in June 2003. He admitted to stealing the data between January 2001 and January 2003.


The data theft cost Acxiom more than $5.8 million.


"While this case did not result in harm to any individual, it is still very important that criminals of this type are brought to justice," Acxiom spokesman Jonathan Portis said of the sentencing.


Much of the stolen data was encrypted, and that data never was utilized by Baas.


Acxiom has suffered no similar incident since, Portis said.


Though not a result of hacking, three other individuals were sentenced recently involving high-profile data breaches at data provider ChoicePoint Inc., Alpharetta, GA.


Nigerian Olatunji Oluwatosin pleaded no contest to creating a ChoicePoint account with a stolen identity and was sentenced to 16 months in prison Feb. 17. His sentence resulted from the October discovery by ChoicePoint that identity thieves had posed as legitimate businesses and accessed data on 145,000 consumers.


The two other Nigerian-born people were arrested in 2002 involving data breaches at ChoicePoint. Bibiana Benson pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlawful use of identification in September 2002 and was sentenced to 54 months in prison. Her brother, Adedayo Benson, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of use and attempted use of fake credit cards in November 2004 and was sentenced to 66 months in prison March 7.


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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