- The FBI has arrested and charged Paige Thompson, a 33-year-old former Amazon employee from Seattle, with stealing personal information belonging to more than 100 million Capital One customers.
- Thompson boasted through an alias on social media hacking, and appears to have obtained some information from several other companies, governmental entities and educational institutions, according to court documents.
- Thompson's resume lists eight different employers over a 12-year period, including positions at Amazon and a division of Lowes.
Paige Thompson, the former Amazon employee and accused hacker accused of stealing personal information for more thanappeared to almost want to be caught. Mission completed.
Thompson, 33, was arrested Monday after FBI agents searched her home and found files and information related to both Capital One and her former employer, according to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice. Agents also found an alias online, "erratic," allegedly linked to Thompson where she had posted online in late June to have information on "multiple companies, government entities and educational entities," according to the complaint.
Earlier that month, a Twitter account under the name posted erratic with a profile picture that appears to be Thompson wearing sunglasses, a direct message admitting that she thought her actions were likely discovered. "Initially, I was excited about a bomb vest, to wipe out capital that is dox and admit it," the statement says. "I want to distribute these buckets I think first."
In court Monday after the arrest, Thompson collapsed and put his head on the defense table, Bloomberg reported. A judge has ordered her to be held in jail. A bail hearing was set for later this week.
A number of short-term jobs
The image that emerges from Thompson from social media information and other web-based file sharing sites is by someone who struggled socially and professionally and who had recently experienced emotional trauma.
On her own Twitter account, she said that cat Millie's death in June was "one of the most painful and emotionally overwhelming experiences of my life." She also complained about her computer life. In early July, Thompson quit thinking about checking in to mental health services, according to the New York Times.
According to an online resume, Thompson enrolled at Bellevue Community College in Bellevue, Washington, to pursue a degree in software engineering in early 2005, but left about a year and a half later. Her resume, which says she "left early to pursue a career opportunity," describes her as working for Seattle Software Systems from October 2005 to March 2007.
Neo Nasrati, CEO of ColumbusSoft, who purchased Seattle Software Solutions from its former owner, Thompson said he was a "very talented & # 39; white hat & # 39; ethical hacker" who excelled at testing clients' security systems for errors. "She was involved in the hacker community, but from what I knew about her, I don't see how she would have done anything illegal."
Thompson's resume shows eight different employers over a 12-year period that began in the fall of 2005 and ended in September 2016 with the job at Amazon. Almost all jobs last less than 18 months and some last only months.
A Lowe spokesman confirmed to CBS MoneyWatch that Thompson was employed by ATG Stores, an online division of the hardware retail chain, in 2014 for "less than two months." The spokesman declined to comment on why Thompson's employment was terminated.
All task list tasks that "assist in the development of analytics platform" or "site maintenance." It is unclear if any of the jobs were contract work or whether she was employed full time. Thompson's longest-tenured job – from December 2007 to March 2010, according to the CV – was as a systems administrator at Zion Preparatory School, a prominent private school that opened in the early 1980s to serve Seattle's black community. The school closed in 2015 after years of financial pressure.
Name, social security number, bank accounts
According to the Justice Department's complaint, Thompson began trying to hack into corporate databases in March this year to steal user information. That month, she gained access to Capital On's customer files. The credit card issuer used Amazon's "cloud" storage service.
According to the complaint, Thompson gained access to the files through an incorrect firewall that allowed her to access Capital One's customer information stored on the cloud provider's servers. Amazon says the systems were not broken.
Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud product, "was not compromised in any way and worked as designed," a spokesman for the company told the Associated Press. "The perpetrator was accessed through a misconfiguration of the web application and not the underlying cloud-based infrastructure. As Capital One clearly explained in the disclosure, this type of vulnerability is not specific to the cloud."
According to the complaint, Thompson was able to download information about "tens of millions" of Capital One customers or potential customers. The data was mainly related to credit card applications. While some data was encrypted, Thompson was able to obtain names, phone numbers and addresses, as well as 120,000 social security numbers and 77,000 bank account numbers.
Thompson does not appear to have access to the bank accounts or sold the data. Amazon says knowledge used to acquire Capital One files was something anyone could find out, and there was no information that would have been obtained from working at the company.
In June, in court documents, Thompson began posting some of the stolen Capital One files on GitHub, a website that developers use to share programming code. She also began posting information about her hack on Twitter and in a group chat that she invited others to join Slack messaging platform.
On July 17, a person sent an email to Capital One stating that "there appeared to be some leaked s3 data from you" on GitHub. S3 data refers to a type of file that is normally stored in Amazon's cloud network. Shortly thereafter, Capital One informed the FBI of the hacking.
The complaint states that there were four other people in Thompson's home when she was arrested Monday.