Hacker Guilty of Stealing $275K from Digital River

Jeremey Parker of Texas admitted to hacking into the computer network of a Digital River subsidiary and wire transferring $275,000 to his bank account; he also hacked into NASA's computer system.

A Texas man pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and admitted that he stole $275,000 by hacking into the computer networks of Eden Prairie-based Digital River, Inc., according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis.

Jeremey Parker, 26, of Houston said in his plea agreement that he hacked into the computer network of Digital River subsidiary SWReg, Inc., between December 23, 2008, and October 15, 2009, in an attempt to steal money.

SWReg pays independent software developers who write code and accumulates royalties owed to those developers. The developers are able to go online, view the royalty balances in their accounts, and cash them out-at which point SWReg electronically transfers money to the developer's bank account, mails the developer a check, or credits the developer's PayPal account.

Parker hacked into the SWReg system, credited some accounts, and then wire transferred that money-$275,000 in total-to his bank account, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

In addition to hacking into Digital River's network and stealing money from that company, Parker also hacked into two computer servers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The U.S. Attorney's office said that he admitted to hacking into that system on September 24, 2009.

After the NASA computer system breach was discovered, NASA spent about $43,000 to repair the damage. During the time the Web site was down for repairs, approximately 3,300 users were denied access to oceanographic data.

Parker wasn't officially charged for the NASA hacking incident, but the U.S. attorneys in Minnesota and Maryland have agreed to include that incident in the local sentencing hearing. For both hacking incidents, Parker faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison-and U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle will determine his sentence at future hearing that hasn't yet been scheduled.

The government filed an indictment against Parker in October for the hacking involving Digital River.

E-commerce provider Digital River has had to deal with hacking twice within the past year. In a lawsuit filed in May, the company said that information about 198,000 individuals was stolen by hackers in India. The company alleged that a New York company and its owner then tried to sell the data.

Digital River is among Minnesota's 55-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled about $363.2 million in 2010.