Jaguars jumbotron hacker sentenced to 220 years in prison | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

Samuel Thompson, 53, was hired by the Jaguars in 2013 to consult on the design and installation of a new Jumbotron. He did not report his sex offender status.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A registered sex offender who hacked into the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jumbotron during several NFL games in 2018 was sentenced to 220 years in federal prison for producing, receiving and possessing child sex abuse material (CSAM), the Department of Justice announced in a release on Tuesday.

Samuel Thompson, 53, was also charged with producing CSAM while required to register as a sex offender, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Thompson was convicted of raping a 14-year-old boy in Alabama in 1998 and was required to register as a sex offender and report his travel. 

Jaguars’ Jumbotron hacked during 3 NFL games in 2018

Thompson was hired by the Jaguars in 2013 to consult on the design and installation of a new Jumbotron and later operated it during game days.

The DOJ said Thompson did not report his sex offender status to the Jaguars.

In January 2018, the Jaguars did not renew Thompson’s contract after learning about his felony conviction and his status as a sex offender.

According to the DOJ, before his contract was expired, Thompson installed remote access software inside a Jaguars’ server room. Through the software, Thompson controlled the Jumbotron remotely, causing it to malfunction throughout three 2018 season NFL games, the DOJ states.

An investigation determined the malfunctions stemmed from a “malicious actor” that sent commands to the affected server.

On Dec. 16, 2018, the Jaguars set up a “honey pot” on their server to capture the IP address of the suspected hacker the next time they tried to access the server to control the Jumbotron, the release states.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation traced the IP address to Thompson’s residence.

FBI found thousands of child sexual abuse images on Thompson’s devices

After the FBI executed a search warrant at Thompson’s residence in July 2019, they discovered thousands of images and hundreds of videos on his devices depicting child sexual abuse.

“He [Thompson] had been searching the dark web for CSAM at the time the FBI knocked on his door with the search warrant,” the release states.

The FBI investigation revealed more child victims Thompson abused; all were 10 or younger at the time of the crime.

Thompson traveled to the Bahamas and the Philippines in July 2019, failing to report his travel as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, according to the DOJ.

He was ultimately deported back to the United States on January 31, 2020, and subsequently arrested by the FBI.

Investigators learned Thompson had sexually exploited a child while fleeing from prosecution in July 2019, the DOJ said.

“Samuel Thompson repeatedly abused and exploited innocent children, inflicting immeasurable hurt on his victims. He also abused and exploited his employer by installing malicious software to manipulate their systems, which could have caused significantly more damage if not detected,” said FBI Jacksonville’s Acting Special Agent in Charge Coult Markovsky.


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