Monday, July 18, 2016

Ex-St. Louis Cardinals Official Sentenced to 46 Months In Hacking Scandal

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 4:55 PM

A former Cardinals official was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for hacking the Houston Astros. - RFT FILE
  • RFT File
  • A former Cardinals official was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for hacking the Houston Astros.
A federal judge hammered an ex-St. Louis Cardinals official for hacking the Houston Astros' computers, sentencing him to nearly four years in prison.

Christopher Correa, the 36-year-old former director of baseball development for the Cards, tried to paint his illicit breach as reckless, but U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes really didn't want to hear that.

"No," the sharp-tongued and often controversial Texan told him. "You intentionally and knowingly did these acts."

Teams across the Major Leagues were forced to tighten their security after Correa wormed his way into the Astro's internal scouting and analytics site, Ground Control, Hughes said during Correa's sentencing in Houston.

"You have made it harder for them to live their lives," Hughes scolded Correa.

Hughes sentenced the disgraced baseball man to 46 months in federal prison as well as two years supervised release when he gets out. Correa must also pay $279,038.65 in restitution. 

In his guilty plea, Correa admitted he hacked the Astros' system for a year, starting in March 2013. It was a pretty low-tech scheme. Correa correctly guessed an ex-Cards employee was still using the same or a similar password after defecting to Houston, and Correa used it to gain access to Ground Control.

Once inside, however, Correa could see confidential analyses of prospects, contracts and trade information, authorities say. The Astros detected a breach in March 2014 and ordered employees to change their passwords while the team switched Ground Control to a new URL. But Correa out-maneuvered them by accessing his former colleague's account where he intercepted emails with the new URL and reset passwords.

He used the info to scan 118 pages, including ranked lists of players the Astros had scouted for the upcoming draft, prosecutors say. 

The estimated cost of Correa's hacking totaled about $1.7 million, authorities say.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at doyle.murphy@riverfronttimes.com or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.



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