1995: A federal judge for the first time authorizes a wiretap of a computer network. It leads to hacking charges against a young Argentine for breaking into sensitive U.S. government sites.
Arrested and later extradited to the United States was Julio Cesar Ardita, who was 21 at the time. His online name was “griton” — Spanish for “screamer.” The hacks, using a dial-up modem, were traced to his parents’ Buenos Aires apartment, located near the university where Ardita was studying computer science.
After detecting intrusions at Harvard, the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service applied for a search warrant and began to monitor activity using a program called I-Watch, run on a government computer installed at Harvard. It searched relentlessly through the goings-on of approximately 16,000 legitimate users of Harvard’s network in its attempt to pinpoint the hacker.
Ardita was fined $5,000 and sentenced to three years’ probation. A 2001 thesis at Argentina’s National Technical University footnoted Ardita as director of a firm called Cybersec S.A. Security System.