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FBI Raids Parkville Man's Home in University of Maryland Data Breach Investigation

The man's passwords and thumb drives were seized.

David Helkowski identified himself as a whistleblower regarding data security. (Screenshot from WJZ interview)
David Helkowski identified himself as a whistleblower regarding data security. (Screenshot from WJZ interview)
Nobody has been charged in the University of Maryland data breaches, but the FBI is investigating a Parkville man contracted to do cybersecurity work for the school in connection with the March incident, according to The Baltimore Sun.

IT contractor David Helkowski said after the February data breach that affected more than 287,000 records, he was able to replicate the attack, The Washington Post reported.

Helkowski, 32, told WJZ he posted the university president's social security number online to get the university's attention because he nobody was fixing "how bad their security was" despite his attempts for months—before February's cyber attack—to alert university officials about the situation.

He said he had alerted officials to vulnerabilities in the university's system in November while working on the school of public health's website and again in March after the February data breach, according to The Baltimore Sun, which reported that the day after university officials thanked him, the FBI raided his home in the 8300 block of Oakleigh Road.

Helkowski said his door was busted in by the FBI, and his wife held their dog while agents searched the home and retrieved all his passwords, according to an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) post he shared on Reddit. He said that "there were signs something was going down" because three weeks before, FBI officials contacted his parents and asked them for his online aliases. It was through his comments in an online chat room that he said the FBI traced him to the March breach.

Approximately 18 items were seized, including thumb drives and records, according to search-and-seizure documentation published by The Washington Post.

After telling his employer, the Baltimore-based IT firm Canton Group, about the raid, Helkowski was let go from his position, according to WJZ, which reported there have been no arrests in the February breach and the investigation is ongoing.

The University of Maryland said that the March data breach was not related to the February incident and resulted in no release of public information, with the exception of one university official.

Related:
Jason Keyes April 12, 2014 at 03:37 PM
He's lucky they didn't kill his dog.
Kolo Jezdec April 12, 2014 at 06:35 PM
@ jnrentz1: "Maryland needs additional employee protections." ****Really? Most employment in the USA is "at will," (I think Montana is the only exception). At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one [i.e.: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status. Specific state statutes may also protect employees from discrimination based on other factors, such as sexual orientation] , or for no reason without incurring legal liability. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.****Does your proposal for additional employee protections include a provision to protect employers as well? Most employees are free to leave a job to move on to another job with better pay, better benefits, better location, or even a better boss.
Kolo Jezdec April 12, 2014 at 06:49 PM
@Jason Keyes "He's lucky they didn't kill his dog." If the result of his foolishness is jail time, a deceased dog would be the least of his worries...
Kolo Jezdec April 12, 2014 at 06:56 PM
Not sure the article makes this clear, but this raid was back on March 16th, almost 4 weeks ago. Not exactly current news...
Kolo Jezdec April 12, 2014 at 07:00 PM
If you are interested, here is a copy of the search warrant: http://freepdfhosting.com/44aec640f8.pdf **** There is also a link to it in the article.

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