Boston, Feb. 7 (Reuters): A college student was indicted yesterday on charges he placed software on dozens of computers that allowed him to secretly monitor what people were typing, and then stole around $2,000 using information he gleaned.
In what may serve as a cautionary tale for people who use computers in public areas, Douglas Boudreau allegedly installed keystroke monitoring software on more than 100 computers at Boston College and then watched as thousands of people sent e-mail, downloaded files and banked online.
According to an indictment by a Middlesex County grand jury, Boudreau compiled a database of personal information on about 4,800 faculty, staff and students at Boston College.
He also stole about $2,000 using the computer information he gathered, according to the office of Massachusetts attorney general Tom Reilly. Richard Smith, an Internet security consultant, said the software in question is typically used by jealous husbands or wives to spy on their spouses — or by employers who want to snoop on their workers.
The software is not new but poses a “sinister” threat to unwitting computer users, Smith said, noting that Boudreau could have used it with far more devastating consequences. “With the amount of information he gathered, there could have been a lot of things he could have done,” Smith said.