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Richmond man convicted of computer crimes

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A Richmond man has been convicted in federal court in San Jose of five counts related to the computer hacking of Palo Alto-based Embarcadero Media in 2015.

Ross Colby, 35, was found guilty by a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday after a six-day trial. He will be sentenced by Koh on Sept. 9.

The case began when the FBI was asked to investigate a Feb. 17, 2015, hacking attack on five websites operated by Embarcadero Media, which publishes print and online newspapers in the Peninsula and East Bay.

In the attack, an image of Guy Fawkes and a message replaced the home pages of the websites of Embarcadero’s Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, Pleasanton Weekly, The Almanac in Menlo Park and DanvilleSanRamon.com.

Colby was indicted on April 6, 2017, on five email-related charges. They included two felony counts of intentionally damaging protected computers by redirecting the company’s corporate email on Sept. 17, 2015, and attempting such damage by canceling four Embarcadero domain names on the same date.

Colby was also charged with three misdemeanor counts of invading a protected computer to obtain the contents of an Embarcadero employee’s email on three occasions on July 23 and 24, 2015.

He was convicted of all five charges.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Abraham Simmons said evidence at the trial showed that Colby used the hacked email information to disrupt the company’s operations in September 2015.

He said a witness testified that Colby’s actions cost Embarcadero $32,000 for repair.

Colby faces a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each felony conviction and one year for each misdemeanor. He can also be fined and ordered to pay restitution.

Colby is currently free on $50,000 bail.

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