Judge Whacks Wi-Fi Hacker with 18-Year Prison Sentence

Paul Lilly

A Minnesota man is finding out that you can actually serve hard time for actling like an all-around jackass online. That can take many forms, but in this case, Barry Ardolf received an 18-year prison sentence for essentially terrorizing his neighborhood through a series of cyberattacks in retaliation for having the cops called on him by his neighbors. It gets more bizarre.

According to the Pioneer Press and Digital Trends , Ardolf's "cybercampaign of terror" was ignited back in 2008 when his neighbors, Matt and Bethany Kostolnick, filed a police report against him for planting what they called a "wet kiss" on their 4-year-old son's lips. According to the police report, the young child wandered over to Ardolf's property shortly after moving into the neighborhood. He then reportedly picked the boy up, carried him back home, and kissed him on the lips.

After that incident, Ardolf, 46, then a technician at Medtronic, hacked into the Kostolnik's wireless router using a program he downloaded to crack the WEP encryption. Over the course of 707 days, Kostolnick opened email accounts in Kostolnik's name to send lewd and threatening messages to his contacts, he sent death threats to the vice president and other elected officials using Kostolnik's name, and created a fake MySpace page for Matt Kostolnik and uploaded child porn, which he then emailed to co-workers at Kostolnik's law office.

Kostolnik's law office hired a firm to track down the culprit, which it did by installing a packet sniffer. After some time, Ardolf's name and Comcast account came up, and the FBI took over. He was ultimately charged with a number of crimes, including identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer, making threats agasint Biden, possession of child pornography, and distribution of child porn. He was charged in June 2010, rejected a plea deal, and was indicted on more charges before going to trial and later pleading guilty.

Ardolf, who is a widower and father of three children of his own, apologized to the Kostolniks before sentencing, but according to the Pionner Press, he spent most of the time talking about himself.

More details are available here . Check it out, and then tell us if what you think of the punishment.

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