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Up to 30 terabytes of data under review in case of Capital One hacker

Citing massive amounts of data, the U.S. government requested the trial of alleged hacker Paige Thompson be postponed until 2020.

SEATTLE — An "immense amount" of electronic data is currently under review in the case of a former Seattle software engineer charged in a massive data breach. 

In a motion to postpone Paige Thompson's trial to next year, U.S. District Court notes 20-30 terabytes of data currently being processed. 

"Moreover, this case involves sensitive material, beyond the typical matter," court documents note. The data contains malware, a "large amount" of information about alleged victims, and internal company records and information. 

Victims include a state agency outside of Washington state, a public university outside of Washington state, and a telecommunications conglomerate outside of the United States. 

Thompson was arrested in July after the FBI said she obtained personal information from more than 100 million Capital One credit applications. There is no evidence the data was sold or distributed to others. 

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The breach was among the largest on record involving a major U.S. financial institution. Capital One said among the information obtained by the hacker was 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers. At least 40 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against Capital One following the breach, saying it failed to protect consumers. Eight other suits were filed in Canada.

Thompson is charged with wire fraud and computer fraud and abuse for the intrusion into data of companies including Capital One. The U.S. government indicated it expects to add additional charges in the case, according to the motion filed Oct. 8. 

Thompson pleaded not guilty in September. 

The request to postpone the trial was mutual. Thompson's defense, according to court documents, needs more time to review evidence, conduct follow-ups, and to consult with experts. 

Thompson faces up to 20 years in prison. 

The trial is pushed back until March or April. The trial will likely span weeks as representatives of dozens of companies - many from overseas - testify against Thompson and experts provide testimony. Thompson's defense will likely present similar evidence, the court notes.

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