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Minnesota Wi-Fi hacker gets 18 years in prison for terrorizing neighbors

Apple-gavel-antitrust-governement-lawsMinnesota hacker Barry Ardolf was sentenced to an 18-year term in a federal prison this Tuesday. Ardolf had terrorized a neighboring family for two years through a carefully planned campaign involving a hijacked Wi-Fi network to harass, frame and embarrass the next-door neighbors in every facet of their lives.

Ardolf’s obsessive passive-aggression was apparently ignited in late 2008 when his neighbors, Matt and Bethany Kostolnik, filed a police report against him. The Kostolniks had a 4-year old son who wandered over to their next-door-neighbors property shortly after moving into the Minnesota suburb of Blaine. Ardolf, 46 and a father of two, had reportedly picked the boy up carried him back to the couple and then kissed the child on the lips. Ardolf was offended when the cops were called and vowed his revenge like every good villain.

The man, a Medtronic computer technician, downloaded a Wi-Fi hacking program to tear into his neighbors WEP encryption. Ardolf created a fake Myspace page as well as several fake emails for Matt Kostolnik. The hacker then posted child porn on the Myspace page and emailed the same child porn to co-workers at Kostolnik’s law office.

To top it all off, the Blaine hacker sent death threats to Vice President Joe Biden and other politicians from Kostolnik’s Yahoo account. This granted Kostolnik a visit from the secret service who had traced the emails back to his IP address. One of the emails told Biden, “I swear to God I’m going to kill you!”

Ardolf’s mischief was detected when a frustrated Kostolnik told bosses he had no clue as to what was going on. The law office hired a firm to poke around the Wi-Fi network and install a packet sniffer to figure it all out. Eventually Ardolf’s name and Comcast account were found which gave the FBI a reason to obtain a search warrant for Ardolf’s house. They found massive evidence that led to the Blaine hacker being slapped with charges for identity theft, making threats against Biden, possession of child pornography as well as distribution of kiddie-porn.

The FBI also found evidence that Ardolf had staged a similar attack against in a family in Brooklyn Park for parking their cars in front of his house. Ardolf’s charges will tag him with lifetime-sex-offender registration requirements and after his release he’ll be supervised for 20 years. According to the Pioneer Press, he’ll also be restricted when working with computers by his parole officers.

Update: Due to overwhelming reader feedback, Digital Trends has removed the controversial last line of this article, which questioned whether 18 years was too long of a sentence for Ardolf. Although the line was posed as a question to spur discussion, many readers took it as an implied defense of Ardolf, which was not the original intent.