British man allegedly hacked U.S. government networks
By Bill Mears
CNN Senior Producer
(CNN) — A federal grand jury has charged a British man with hacking into thousands of computer systems and stealing confidential U.S. government information.
Lauri Love, 28, and others allegedly tried to “disrupt the operations and infrastructure” of various agencies and departments, including the Army, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The indictment was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman of New Jersey.
“As part of their alleged scheme, they stole military data and personal identifying information belonging to servicemen and women,” said Fishman. “Such conduct endangers the security of our country and is an affront to those who serve.”
Love was arrested Friday at his Stradishall, England, home.
He faces one count of illegally accessing a government computer system and one count of conspiracy.
Related criminal charges were also unsealed in Virginia on Monday.
FBI and U.S. Army criminal investigators worked with officials in Britain for the past year.
Love is accused of conspiring with at least three people, two in Australia, another in Sweden, he has been the only one charged so far.
The indictment said Love and his partners infiltrated the computer networks, then placed hidden “back door” malware code applications, which allowed them to return later to steal confidential information.
Stolen data included personal information for military personnel, which apparently resulted in millions of dollars in damages to the victims.
The four conspirators allegedly executed the attack through secure online chat forums that covered subjects like how to steal non-public information and how to disrupt the U.S. government’s secure infrastructure.
In one January communication, the indictment alleged that Love discussed how to share the stolen information, stating “we might be able to get at real confidential [stuff].”
One of the computer servers was located in Parsippany, New Jersey, which prompted prosecutors in Newark to spearhead the investigation.
Love, who allegedly used the computer nicknames “peace” and “route,” faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts, if convicted.
The case is U.S. v. Love.
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