Stratfor Hacker Hammond Pleads Guilty

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

LulzSec and Anonymous-linked hacker facing 10 years in prison after admitting numerous attacks

A hacker who helped break into intelligence firm Stratfor, infamously pilfering troves of data before publishing much of the stolen information online, has pleaded guilty.

Jeremy Hammond is now facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for his role in the December 2011 breach of Stratfor, whilst he also admitted to hacking the FBI’s Virtual Academy and other policing bodies.

Hammond, who went by the online moniker Anarchaos and was believed to work with hacktivist groups Anonymous and LulzSec, has also agreed to pay up to $2.5 million (£1.7m) in restitution. He will be sentenced on 6 September.

LulzSecStratfor hacker facing jail

Hammond carried out the attacks as part of AntiSec, an offshoot of Anonymous, which stole Stratfor employees’ emails and account information for around 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or customers. He also helped steal credit card information of approximately 60,000 credit card users, using the data to make more than $700,000 in transactions.

Much of the data was published online by Wikileaks, the site set up to leak sensitive government communications.

“While he billed himself as fighting for an anarchist cause, in reality, Jeremy Hammond caused personal and financial chaos for individuals whose identities and money he took and for companies whose businesses he decided he didn’t like,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“He was nothing more than a repeat offender cyber criminal who thought that because of his computer savvy he was above the law that binds and protects all of us – the same law that assured his rights in a court of law and allowed him to decide whether to admit his guilt or assert his innocence.”

Wikileaks chief Julian Assange posted a message online, saying the “Obama administration’s treatment of Jeremy Hammond is a disgrace”. “The Obama administration’s war on journalism must stop.”

The US Justice Department said charges against Ryan Ackroyd and Jake Davis, who were sentenced here in the UK earlier this month and included in the same indictment as Hammond, were still pending. However, it is believed they will avoid extradition.

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