British Hacker Charged With Infiltrating US Government Networks

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British hacker arrested by the NCCU in the UK over claims he illegally accessed US military and government networks

A British man has been arrested and charged with hacking into a number of US government networks and stealing “massive quantities” of confidential data.

Lauri Love, 28, was arrested by representatives of the recently launched National Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA) in Stradishall, Suffolk on Friday and charged with one count of accessing a US government department or agency computer without authorisation, and one count of conspiring to do the same.

His arrest followed an investigation led by the US army’s Criminal Investigation Command – Computer Crime Investigative Unit and the FBI, which accused Love of accessing networks belonging to the US Army, the US Missile Defense Agency, the US Environmental Protection Agency and NASA, causing millions of dollars in damages.

British hacker arrest

Police cyber security - Shutterstock - © Amy WaltersAccording to an indictment filed in New Jersey, the attacks took place between October 2012 and October 2013. During this period, Love and his associates allegedly hacked into thousands of systems and placed hidden back doors within the networks what allowed them to return at a later date and steal confidential data. This included the personally identifiable information of members of the military.

It is claimed that the attackers communicated using IRC chats to identify and locate vulnerable systems, which they accessed using SQL injection attacks, and by identifying weaknesses in the Coldfusion web application platform used by some of the affected government agencies.

Attempts were made to conceal IP addresses by launching the attacks using proxy and Tor servers, while the suspects used multiple identities to communicate with each other. Love now faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted, as well as a potential fine of $250,000.

“According to the indictment, Lauri Love and conspirators hacked into thousands of networks, including many belonging to the United States military and other government agencies,” said US attorney Paul J Fishman. “As part of their alleged scheme, they stole military data and personal identifying information belonging to servicemen and women. Such conduct endangers the security of our country and is an affront to those who serve.”

The US Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit praised UK authorities for their cooperation in the arrest.

“The borderless nature of Internet-based crime underscores the need for robust law enforcement alliances across the globe,” said the unit’s director Daniel Andrews. “We appreciate the bilateral support of the National Crime Agency in bringing cyber criminals to justice.”

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