Case Study: The T-Mobile Hack
Recently a hacker was able to access the wireless carrier T-Mobile’s network and read the private emails and personal files of hundreds of customers. The government revealed that emails and other sensitive communications from the Secret Service agent investigating the incident were among those obtained by the hacker. The agent, Peter Caviccha, was apparently using his own personal handheld computer to view emails while travelling. His supervisors were apparently aware of this, since they frequently directed emails to his personal email address while he was travelling. The agency had a policy in place that disallowed agents from storing work-related files on personal computers. The hacker was able to view the names and Social Security numbers of 400 T-Mobile customers, and they were notified in writing regarding the security breach. T-Mobile has more than 63 million customers in the United States. The network attack occurred over a seven-month period and was discovered during a broad investigation by the Secret Service while studying several underground hacker organizations. Nicolas Lee Jacobson, a computer engineer from Santa Anna, California, was charged in the cyberattack after investigators traced his online activities to a hotel where he was staying. He was later arrested and then been released on a $25,000 bond.
1. What role did the culture displayed by Caviccha and his supervisors play in the case?
2. Were additional charges warranted against the agent if agency rules were violated?
3. Which type of culture, hierarchical or hybrid, was displayed, and did the type of culture play a role in charges against the agent?
4. What additional security measures are required to prevent eavesdropping on wireless communications?
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