A San Francisco man accused of a cyberattack on Palo Alto Online and other websites owned by Embarcadero Media appeared in federal court in San Jose on Wednesday.
Ross Colby, 34, appeared with his attorney, Vicki Young, at 9:15 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose for a status conference. At the request of the defendant, the case was continued to Aug. 16 to allow Colby's attorney to review discovery documents.
Colby was charged by a federal grand jury in a sealed five-count indictment on April 6 after an 18-month investigation by the FBI's Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property unit in San Jose. The indictment was unsealed on April 11.
The indictment alleges that Colby gained access to the corporate Google email account of an Embarcadero Media employee in July 2015 and then in September 2015 used information to cancel four domain names and change the company's email exchange records to redirect email. He is charged with one felony for intentional damage to a protected computer, another felony for attempted damage to a protected computer and three misdemeanors for obtaining information from a protected computer. A conviction on the two felonies carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
He entered a not guilty plea and was released on $50,000 bail during his April arraignment.
Neither Colby nor his attorney would comment on why he targeted Embarcadero Media for a cyberattack. He is not known to have any affiliations or previous contacts with the media organization or its papers, which include the Palo Alto Weekly, The Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Pleasanton Weekly.