Pittsburgh man who claimed to be part of hacking network Anonymous sentenced

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An Esplen man who claimed in 2011 that he was a member of the hacking activist network known as Anonymous will have his computer use monitored by the federal government for two years as part of a probationary sentence handed down today.

Matthew James West, 22, was a friend of Mount Washington couple Alyson Cunningham, 26, and Jonathan Cunningham, 29, when the former was fired from the family law firm Voelker & Gricks. In an apparent bid for revenge, the three obtained access to the firm’s computer system, inserted a program that captured all of the employees’ passwords and sent a threatening note from “Anonymous.”

A partner in the law firm has said that no data was compromised.

“I’m deeply sorry for the fear that I caused and any inconvenience I might have done to them,” Mr. West told U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone.

Mr. West pleaded guilty to unlawful computer password trafficking, a misdemeanor.

In addition to probation during which his computer use will be monitored by federal officers, Mr. West must pay $2,445 in restitution to the law firm and perform 250 hours of community service.

Mr. West said he would pay the restitution immediately, prompting the judge to sentence him to two years of probation rather than three.

The Cunninghams each were sentenced to three years of probation during which federal agents can monitor their home computer use and were barred from having Apple smartphones.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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