- FBI agents arrested Paige Thompson, who is suspected of hacking Capital One and putting the personal data of 106 million customers at risk, in a dramatic raid on Monday.
- Court documents filed Wednesday say Thompson, 33, threatened to “shoot up” an unnamed social-media company in California, the Associated Press reported.
- While searching Thompson’s residence, FBI agents also found about 20 guns and bump stocks in the bedroom used by Thompson’s 66-year-old housemate, the Department of Justice said. The housemate, who was barred from possessing firearms because of previous convictions, was also arrested.
- Thompson’s housemates and old friends have described her life as troubled and isolated after leaving Amazon in 2016.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The suspect in the massive Capital One hack threatened to “shoot up” a social-media company, prosecutors said in newly released court documents.
The documents were filed after the FBI arrested her housemate whom authorities said was in illegal possession of about 20 guns.
Paige Thompson is accused of illegally accessing data controlled by Capital One, which suffered a data breach sometime between March and July. The hack affected the personal and financial information of some 106 million customers in the US and Canada.
Accounts linked to Thompson, a 33-year-old former Amazon software engineer in Seattle, posted details of the hack on the coding-collaboration site GitHub, the messaging platform Slack, and Twitter, the FBI said.
Thompson was arrested at her home in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood on Monday in a dramatic FBI raid, which involved at least seven heavily armed agents.
The raid led to the discovery of 20 guns in the bedroom of Thompson’s housemate Park Quan, the Department of Justice said Monday.
Quan, 66, has two federal convictions for firearms violations, making it illegal for him to possess guns, the DOJ said.
Documents said the weapons included what agents believe to be AR-15-style and AK-47-style rifles as well as ammunition, gunpowder, and accessories including bump stocks and grips. Bump stocks are illegal in Washington state.
In court documents filed Wednesday regarding Quan’s case, federal prosecutors also revealed more allegations about Thompson.
Prosecutors say she recently threatened to “shoot up” an unidentified social-media company in California, the Associated Press reported, citing the documents.
The company reported the threat, and the Seattle police made a report about it, the AP reported, citing the court filings.
‘Could have gotten us killed’
Thompson and Quan’s other housemates described Monday’s FBI raid of their house as “scary” and said Thompson tried to ignore the agents.
They told The Seattle Times that Thompson ducked into her bedroom upon seeing the agents, saying she didn’t want to deal with it.
One of the housemates, a Navy veteran who declined to be named, told The Seattle Times: “It was scary. I had M4s in my face,” referring to the weapons the agents were carrying.
One housemate, who gave her name as Ashley, also told the local King5 News that Thompson’s behaviour “could have gotten us killed.”
Watch footage of Monday’s raid here:
A troubled, isolated life after Amazon
The housemates also described Thompson as a skilled hacker and suggested that her life after leaving Amazon was isolated.
Another friend told the press that Thompson, who is transgender, struggled with her transition.
Thompson started working for Amazon Web Services in 2015 and left about a year later, The New York Times reported. The Seattle Times cited her housemates as saying she lost her job after drinking at work because of harassment from a coworker.
She has been unemployed since and was living at the house rent-free, The Seattle Times added, citing her housemates.
Capital One hosted its data using AWS at the time of the data breach. Amazon said earlier this week that the hacker “gained access through a misconfiguration of the web application and not the underlying cloud-based infrastructure” and that “this type of vulnerability is not specific to the cloud.”
Business Insider has contacted AWS for comment on Thompson’s employment there.
Sarah Stensberg, a former friend of Thompson, also told The New York Times on Tuesday that the computer expert occasionally went through bouts in which she could become confrontational.
“When she gets in these phases of intensity, she does really stupid things,” Stensberg said. “She’ll push everyone away. She’ll write threatening emails. She’ll post things online about the things she’s doing.”
Aife Dunne, an online friend, told The New York Times that Thompson had discussed the struggles of transitioning years before and that she sometimes struggled to find support beyond her online communities.
“You wish there was someone in her life that she had someone to talk to,” Dunne said.
“Paige is very, very skilled. If she wanted to, she could hack foreign governments,” an unnamed housemate told The Seattle Times, adding that the person had “never heard anything” about the Capital One hack until the charges.
The roommates said they knew Quan had guns in the house but didn’t know he was prohibited from possessing them, The Seattle Times reported.
Quan is due to appear in court on Thursday. Thompson is in federal custody and is scheduled for a detention hearing on August 15.
The FBI has charged Thompson with one charge of computer fraud and abuse. If convicted, she could face a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $US250,000 fine.
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