What Happened to the Houston Astros' Hacker?
October 9, 2018 9:29 AM   Subscribe

None of the other inmates knew about Correa's background—or that he was the camp's most prominent resident—until Jan. 30, 2017. That was when baseball commissioner Rob Manfred levied a $2 million fine on the Cardinals for Correa's actions, ordered the club to surrender two draft picks to the Astros and banned Correa from the game for life. Inmates in Cumberland are not allowed to access the Internet, but it was on the news. "Was that you?" people asked him. "Yeah, that was me," he said. posted by DirtyOldTown (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
"I think the focus on punishment and custody versus rehabilitation is a surprise to a lot of people"

Really? What people is he talking about? I have never talked to anyone (on any side of the political spectrum) that was under the impression that the US prison system was designed for rehabilitation.
posted by el io at 9:50 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Well, it's striking that even in minimum security conditions there's basically no mandate other than "feed these people and count them once a day". Which feels especially pointless; it's extremely unlikely that this person would repeat his crime, whatever you think of it. And he doesn't actually have any special hacking ability. So he's basically sitting in time out for a couple years. America is stupid.

"This is a serious federal crime," U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson told the media. "It involves computer crime, cybercrime. We in the U.S. Attorney's office look to all crimes that are being committed by computers to gain an unfair advantage .... This is a very serious offense, and obviously the court saw it as well."

Jesus. This is clearly the only way this guy can get an erection.
posted by selfnoise at 10:18 AM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Considering that he's a data mining genius, it's a pity he couldn't be sentenced to say, modernize the donor records for UNICEF or something.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:23 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


Was this like inflategate, everyone does it, doesn't actually make much difference, but someone noticed and felt the need to make an example?
posted by sammyo at 10:27 AM on October 9


Was this like inflategate, everyone does it, doesn't actually make much difference, but someone noticed and felt the need to make an example?

Well, it's definitely not like inflategate, as that was a literal "nothing happened, but we need to distract from CTE in the news."

It's not really like spygate, the "everyone steals each other's playbook" bit. I don't think most baseball staff are trying to log into their competitors' computer accounts.

I feel like the former Cardinals/current Astros coach should have been lambasted a bit more. You shared your password with coworkers and then made your new password similar to the old one? It doesn't excuse the breach, but definitely shifts the blame a bit.
posted by explosion at 10:38 AM on October 9


"I think the focus on punishment and custody versus rehabilitation is a surprise to a lot of people," he says. "I think a lot of people are surprised that it's more or less just a warehouse for people."

I'm glad he came to this realization, but also I'm kinda tired of people needing to actually, y'know, go to jail to figure this stuff out. This is widely available information. There are books, movies, newspaper articles, magazine articles. This reminds me of Kent Sorenson, an Iowa Republican politician who got arrested for campaign finance violations and came out of prison having realized how bad prison is. Like, good, I'm glad you figured it out, welcome to team "prisons are bad", but it kinda says something about these people that it took them going to federal prison to realize how awful our criminal justice system is.
posted by protocoach at 11:05 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


You shared your password with coworkers and then made your new password similar to the old one? It doesn't excuse the breach, but definitely shifts the blame a bit.

No it doesn't. If your PIN was 1357 and I guessed it and stole a bunch of money from your bank account, I really doubt you'd agree that it was partially your fault for having a guessable PIN.
posted by protocoach at 11:07 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


The structural issues with prisons are all on display here. All the white collar crime that goes on in this country and that this guy is the one who ends up in jail is unsurprising.

If your PIN was 1357 and I guessed it and stole a bunch of money from your bank account, I really doubt you'd agree that it was partially your fault for having a guessable PIN.

The analogy doesn't hold up. He didn't steal money, the courts can't really quantify the damage, but if we go by the $1.7M figure that's like the average person losing $20 of business in their Etsy shop after I said mean things on twitter about them. Regular people who do mosquito bite damage to a medium sized corporation should never be going to jail.
posted by MillMan at 11:27 AM on October 9


Not the first time a Cardinal committed a devastating hack on the Astros.
posted by Groundhog Week at 12:35 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I'm still reading the article, but does knowing your co-worker's password qualify someone for "hacker" status? My ex is many things, but a hacker? Not so much.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:04 PM on October 9


Yes, figuring out someone's password based on knowledge of them and their habits is definitely a form of hacking. Notice that his coworker didn't use the exact same password on both systems (Correa had to change it to get it to work), nor does it say that the coworker ever gave the password directly to Correa (I am guessing that the coworker had to give over his passwords when he returned his company equipment). We can argue about whether or not hacking crimes should have stiffer penalties than other kinds of white collar crime, but what Correa did is almost certainly under the purview of "computer hacking." He intentionally, maliciously, and repeatedly accessed a database that he was not ever authorized to access.
posted by muddgirl at 4:47 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Also this bit right here: On the fateful, unremembered day on which he first pecked Mejdal's old password into the Astros' email server—where he found more passwords that gave him unfettered access to Houston's new database

100% old-school hacking. Get access to email so you can find passwords to more important systems. He's a hacker.
posted by muddgirl at 4:53 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


The analogy doesn't hold up.

Yes it does. It was nonconsensual penetration enabled by a culture of competitive privilege. I absolutely beleive that Correa was shocked to learn he'd committed a crime, and the fucking Fed prosecutors are assholes driven by conquest, humiliation, and high profile prosecution, but that does not mean he did nothing wrong. It sure does mean prosecutors go after easy example cases.
posted by mwhybark at 5:08 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


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