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Capital One hacking suspect pleads not guilty to federal computer, wire fraud charges

 (Jeff Chiu / AP)
(Jeff Chiu / AP)
By Mike Carter Seattle Times

The Seattle software engineer known online as “erratic,” who is accused of hacking into Capital One’s computer systems and compromising the personal data of more than 100 million customers, pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to federal wire- and computer-fraud charges.

Federal Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a Nov. 4 jury trial for Paige Thompson and ordered her remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Thompson, 33, a former Amazon software engineer who was living in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood and was arrested July 29, faces up to 25 years in prison on one count of wire fraud and one count of computer fraud and abuse. Her case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik. It is likely the trial date will be extended as the case is litigated.

In an indictment handed up Aug. 28, Thompson is accused of hacking Capital One and three other unidentified victims who “rented or contracted for computer servers” from the same cloud-computing company: An out-of-state government agency; a telecommunications conglomerate located outside the U.S.; and a public research university in another state.

While authorities have not named the involved cloud-computing company, Thompson previously worked for Amazon Web Services, which provides cloud services to Capital One among other customers. Only four victims are described in the indictment, though it notes she is suspected of stealing data from 30 entities.

The indictment states that Thompson targeted firewalls that had been misconfigured by the cloud-computing customers and aimed to use the servers to mine cryptocurrency.

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