A Real Hospital Cyber Attack

Man Charged in Wash. Hospital Cyber Crash

A 20-year-old man faces charges of launching a computer attack that crippled a hospital's computers, shutting down its intensive care unit and disabling doctors' pagers, prosecutors said Friday.

Christopher Maxwell of Vacaville, Calif., was summoned to appear in federal court in Seattle on Feb. 25, but is not in custody. Two juvenile co-conspirators are being prosecuted out of state, federal prosecutor Mark Bartlett told reporters.

At least 13,000 computers were infected in the January 2005 attack on Northwest Hospital, a 187-bed nonprofit facility in Seattle, prosecutors said. They said lives were endangered, and computer repairs cost about $150,000.

Prosecutors said the three conspirators used a "botnet" attack -- a program that lets hackers infect and control a computer network -- to install unwanted Internet advertising software, a job that earned them about $100,000.

The conspiracy charges against Maxwell would carry up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine upon conviction.

His two alleged co-conspirators were not identified.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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