WiFi Hacking Earns Crazed Neighbor 18 Years In Jail - HotHardware
WiFi Hacking Earns Crazed Neighbor 18 Years In Jail

WiFi Hacking Earns Crazed Neighbor 18 Years In Jail

A federal court handed Barry Ardolf, a Minnesota resident initially accused of sending threatening emails to Vice President Joe Biden, a nearly twenty year prison sentence today based on multiple additional charges of identity theft, trafficking in child pornography, and generally being the kind of psychotic neighbor that only exists in horror films.

In August 2008, Matt and Bethany Kostolnik moved in next door to Ardolf. The next day, their four-year-old son ran next door while in sight of the mother, who was occupied briefly with her 18 month-old child. Ardolf, who was also outside, brought the child home but allegedly kissed him on the lips while doing so. The Kostolnik's reported the incident to the police. Their neighbor, enraged by the incident, decided to get even in spectacular fashion.*

Ardolf hacked the Kostolnik's WEP-secured wireless network, created email accounts purportedly attached to Matt Kostolnik's person, and sent inappropriate emails to the man's co-workers knowing the missives would be traced back his neighbor's ISP. One of the emails contained pornographic images of minors Ardolf claimed were Matt's own children.


Not actually a real photo of Barry Ardolf--but it probably should be.

Not content to keep things private, Ardolf created a MySpace profile under Kostolnik's name, uploaded the same images to it, and edited the 'About Me' section to include the following:
I bet my coworker that since I’m a lawyer and a darn great one that I could get away with putting up porn on my site here. I bet that all I have to do is say that there is plausible deniability since anybody could have put this on my site. Like someone hacked my page and added porn without my knowledge. This is reasonable doubt. I’m a darn good lawyer and I can get away with doing anything!
Other various activities included an attempt to convince Kostolnik's boss that he'd sexually harassed a woman, tire slashing, and the threat against Joe Biden's life that put Ardolf on the Secret Service's radar. Partial text of that enchanting letter included: "This is a terrorist threat!  Take this seriously.  I hate the way you people are spending money you don’t have.. I’m assigning myself to be judge[,] jury and executioner. Since you folks have spent what you don’t have[,] it’s time to pay the ultimate price. Time for new officials after you all are put to death by us."


Back in the good ol' days, crazy neighbors were considerate enough to keep their nutso in their own yard

The most amazing aspect of the entire case is Ardolf's decision to reject the aforementioned plea agreement that would've seen him cop to the Biden threat in exchange for a two year sentence. Now the man, who justifies his actions based on feeling 'victimized', will have the next decade and a half or so to deal with those feelings in an environment where he can't ruin anyone else's life.

On a practical note, Ardolf's actions are precisely why anyone with an online presence in this day and age should engage in a bit of judicial self-monitoring. We're scarcely advocating that anyone sign up for the dubious reputation-protection services that now exist, but a bit of personal Googling is a necessity.

*- When the police executed their warrant, they found evidence that Barry had perpetrated similar acts against previous neighbors. Other events triggering his rage included a home health care attendant parking across from his house. Once.
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Hah wow, what a complete moron and glad he rejected the plea bargain and wound up with an additional 13 years to reflect on it.

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PFeenstra:

Hah wow, what a complete moron and glad he rejected the plea bargain and wound up with an additional 13 years to reflect on it.

"Yeah, by that you can tell he's a total nutcase"

-Optimus

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Wow, this is scary... but that picture is terrifying!!

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That is some pretty crazy stuff... One more reason to secure your network with WPA2 using a complex password, WEP is far to easy to crack.

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There are crazies everywhere sometimes more evident on the internet.

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Throw the key away,.....

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This stuff actually happens somewhat often now. I remember a case a month or two back where a SWAT team busted down a families door because an internet connection had been traced to there door. Little did these mindless WEP users know some guy down the street was hosting a Kiddy porn site through there wireless router.

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Read the sentencing memo (thanks for the link). Reads like a first attempt in a creative writing course:

"Matt and Bethany Kostolnik moved into their dream home in August 2008. Located on a cul-de-sac in Blaine, the home provided room for their growing family; they had two children under five years old, and were expecting another child soon. On August 2, 2008, one day after moving into their new home, the dream became a nightmare." and so on.

I was reading comments from others elsewhere and a few were making light of the incident by stating "don't call the cops when someone returns your kid." I don't want to mitigate the hell they went through, but I'm still scratching my head b the mother's reaction. She didn't actually see the guy kiss her son; she heard it. Everywhere else I've read that he kissed the boy on the lips, but this isn't established. She then ran upstairs crying "We've moved next door to a paedophile!" If I had a visit from the police because of my neighbours who had just moved next door, I'd be freaking out. Just not to this extent.....

www.tracesofevil.com

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Like some others have said lol Don't use WEP! Here in our lab at work we did some testing on wireless security.

It takes about 2-10 seconds to find your "Hidden" non broadcast SSID.

And it takes about 14 Seconds to crack your WEP key.

Keep that in mind ;-)

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DHeath,

The child later told the mother, unprompted, that he'd been kissed on the mouth. I will grant you any claims you wish to raise regarding the potential dubiousness of this confession, child confessions in general, the question of 'prompting', etc.

Furthermore, I'll grant that I could understand the neighbor's anger--if anger is all it had been. It's theoretically possible that the child kissed him, and allegations--or even the merest, vaguest, *hint* of allegations--of child abuse are damning in the extreme. The very act of being named is an assumption of guilt in the eyes of a lot of people.

Treating the scenario from this perspective, however, implies that Ardolf has some legitimate claim to provocation. It ignores the fact that he did similar things to other people. The mother's claim, IMO, is somewhat supported by the fact that Ardolf has a clear habit of utterly ignoring boundaries of all types. He didn't simply harass the family--he committed crimes that could've shredded the lives of everyone involved.

Ardolf's crimes could've sent the husband to prison for a mixture of sexual abuse and violent threats. That would've inevitably created suspicion around the mother -- how could she have lived with such a monster, all unknowing? Had things played out differently, his attacks against his neighbors could have destroyed their lives and the lives of their children.

I can see why some would think the mother overreacted, but Ardolf's own actions prove she didn't--even if he isn't a pedophile himself. she may have mislabeled him, or even unfairly maligned him, but the guy was nuts.

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Cheers for the reply, Joel. The mother clearly was proven correct in her concerns, but my question is how would she have legitimately known? I suppose those things that set our warning bells off are not easy to explain on paper.

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DHeath:
I suppose those things that set our warning bells off are not easy to explain on paper.

Agreed,....life is full of moments when you have one of those 'feelings' about somebody, and you either reap the benefits, or suffer the consequences depending on how you respond to your 'feelings'.

I had a guy come into my yard when I was still living in California and ask me for some work around the house. He made me uneasy at best, and my little dog Tika alerted on him and started barking at him and acting afraid. (this was totally out of character for her) He got pissed off at the dog and told me I should put her away and I told him to get the hell off of my property. At this point, my two Akitas (92 & 112 pounds) sensed something was wrong and came over and stood by me.

The guy left. Later that day, he robbed and beat up an older lady that lived about 5 miles from me.

People should pay attention to their intuition.

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I don't know much about this situation but I do know that hacking someone's wi-fi is not the way to do it.

But it does earn you instant cred within nerdy circles.

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TaylorKarras:
But it does earn you instant cred within nerdy circles.

Some cred is dead. Don't need it, never will.

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... wow, people these days.

Also in the picture... he has crutches... yet he is on the roof, with a sofa.................. lol

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