FBI probe of University of Maryland data breach targets Canton Group employee
The FBI suspects an employee of the Baltimore-based software developer Canton Group, David Paul Helkowski, has compromised data security at University of Maryland in the wake of the massive February cyberattack that mined the names, university IDs, and Social Security numbers of hundreds of thousands of people with ties to the university, past and present, according to federal court records made public today.
According to a search-warrant affidavit sworn out by FBI special agent Jeremy Bucalo, Helkowski may have broken a federal law prohibiting “fraud and related activities in connection with computers.” The FBI raided Helkowski’s Parkville home on Oakleigh Road the same day Bucalo’s warrant application was signed by Maryland U.S. District magistrate judge Timothy Sullivan on March 16 – a day after Helkowski, using a pseudonym, allegedly sent an email to members of a University cybersecurity task force, pointing them to a Reddit “pastebin” posting (since removed) explaining how he, as could any hacker, had obtained the names and Social Security numbers of all current University of Maryland students and employees, as well as troves of other private data about them.
Helkowski has not publicly been charged in federal court, and Bucalo’s affidavit includes transcriptions of online chats between Helkowski and other, unnamed Canton Group employees in which he indicates he believed “the president, lead of task force, and lead of internal security” at University of Maryland “are all agreeing not to press charges.” The affidavit also indicates that Helkowski’s role at Canton Group was in connection with the company “working with the UMD School of Public Health to perform website migration.”
Helkowski allegedly told another unnamed Canton Group employee, in an online chat, that “I got tired of being ignored so I forced their hand … I posted it publicly to reddit too … and sent them the link … so the presidents info has now been leaked online … i fucking hate people treating me like an amateur … am just sick and tired of it … I contacted major news agencies also … after the news agencies ignored me that is what made me go nuts and talk to the task force.”
Bucalo’s affidavit can be found here: Helkowski UMD FBI ssw affidavit.