A Farmingdale man was arrested last week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on charges that earlier this year he hacked into the web server for Dan’s Papers and removed the website from web searches.
Christopher Gardiner, 28, a British citizen who lives in Farmingdale, and who formerly lived in Westhampton, was arrested at his home on June 26 and charged with computer fraud, according to a copy of the complaint.
According to the complaint, Mr. Gardiner accessed the web server for Danshamptons.com—owned by Dan’s Papers, a company that publishes a weekly newspaper distributed mostly on the East End—on December 10, 2012, and altered the root directory of the website, essentially removing it from search results on Google and Yahoo! for several days. The change caused the company to lose advertising revenue, authorities said.
Using the IP address that accessed the server, the FBI was able to trace the change to Mr. Gardiner through his Optimum Online account, which was registered to an address in Westhampton, where he lived until March 2013, the complaint said.
Mr. Gardiner worked as an administrator and web designer for Dan’s Papers from April 4, 2011, through June 19, 2012, authorities said. As part of his job, he had access to website login and password information necessary for the hack.
If convicted, he faces up to a 10-year prison sentence.