A $5K Hack:

Venezuelan computer hacker Rafael Nunez-Aponte, known to his fellow geeks as “RaFa,” has spent the last seven months in a US jail and that means he can walk now that US District Judge Walker Miller has sentenced him to seven months for breaking into a USAF computer in June 2001. His action left a Web-based server network inoperable for a time. There is one more note: Nunez-Aponte will leave the US lighter by some $5,000—about half what it cost to fix his little hack. US officials seized the money last April when they arrested him as he entered the country to attend a conference. We call that an expensive—and stupid—thrill.