Chad Davis

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Chad Davis
Born1981 (age 32–33)
Other namesMindphasr
 
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For the Australian footballer, see Chad Davis (footballer).
Chad Davis
Born1981 (age 32–33)
Other namesMindphasr

Chad Davis (born 1981) is an American hacker (or cracker) from Green Bay, Wisconsin, who operated under the alias of Mindphasr. He was the subject of one of the most high-profile prosecutions of cybercriminals of the late 20th century. Davis is a founding member of the globalHell syndicate of hackers, and is suspected to have authored or participated in the hacking of the websites of numerous businesses and government agencies.[1]

Biography[edit]

Arrest and prosecution[edit]

On June 2, 1999, Davis's apartment was searched in a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attempt to crack down on members of globalHell, who had just weeks before vandalized the homepage of the White House. Davis was not charged with any crime relating to his computer activities on this occasion. However, underage at the time, he was fined $165 for a can of beer investigators discovered in his refrigerator.[2]

On June 28, in retaliation for the search, Davis allegedly hacked the home page of the U.S. Army, vandalizing it with the message "globalHell will not die", and shutting it down for four hours.[3] The case was immediately assigned to the Computer Crime Resident Agency of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, and the FBI. Davis was taken into custody shortly afterwards.[4]

United States Attorney Thomas Schneider told reporters, "Even though the intrusion involved an unclassified Army computer network, the intruder prevented use of the system by Army personnel. Interference with government computer systems are not just electronic vandalism, they run the risk of compromising critical information infrastructure systems."[5]

On January 4, 2000, Davis pled guilty to intentionally hacking a protected computer and causing damage. And on March 1, 2000, Judge Joseph P. Stadtmueller sentenced him to six months in prison, US$8,054 in restitution, three years probation, and forbade Davis from using or aiding anyone else in the use of a computer.[6]

Post-conviction[edit]

Since his incarceration in 2000, Davis has gone onto a career as an independent security consultant. Davis has given numerous speeches around the country on the importance of security. As a consultant, he has also been hired by some of the worlds top corporations to oversee network security implementations.[citation needed]

Fallout[edit]

Other computer security experts predicted a massive wave of retaliation from the hacker community for the aggressive pursuit of globalHell members. However, as of 2010, only one other group of hackers—known as Team Spl0it--has explicitly taken up the call for retaliation, by committing low-grade vandalism of several commercial web sites unaffiliated with the federal government.[7]

Davis's successful prosecution for cybercrime--and the concurrent successful prosecution of fellow globalHell members Patrick W. Gregory, Eric Burns and Russell Sanford--was actually seen by commentators to be the turning point in the attitude of globalHell, which has since declared itself legitimate.[8]

Modus operandi[edit]

Officials said that typically Davis used the ColdFusion software development framework, and attacked vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows programs to gain backdoor entry into a system.[6] Davis did not program in ColdFusion; rather, he exploited a vulnerability discovered by rain.forest.puppy and extended to allow file uploads by a member of the L0pht.[9] Davis also allegedly used Domain Name System spoofing extensively, especially on the Eris Free Network.

In pop culture[edit]

"Chad Davis" is the name of the main character of Spyros Nomikos and Herbert Hugh Thompson's 2004 techno-thriller, The Mezonic Agenda: Hacking the Presidency. The character is a computer intrusion expert and "ethical hacker" who testifies before the United States Congress about the vulnerability of certain computer networks.

References[edit]