Hacker who sold UPMC employee information pleads guilty

May 21, 2021 GMT

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Michigan man has pleaded guilty to hacking a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center employee database, stealing the personal information of more than 65,000 people and then selling the information online.

Justin Johnson, 30, is being held at Butler County Prison and will be sentenced in four months, the Tribune-Review reported.

Johnson pleaded guilty Thursday to two of the 43 counts against him, one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Melucci, investigators from the IRS, U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Secret Service found that Johnson used his expertise in the PeopleSoft software, used by UPMC, to gain access to the database in 2014.

He then used the moniker “The Dearth Star” and later “Dearthy Star” to sell the information on the dark web.

“Virtually every UPMC employee’s (personally identifiable information) was victimized,” Melucci said. “The intruder clearly had a high skill set.”

Johnson was arrested last year in Detroit.