Today in New Jersey, US Attorney Paul Fishman brought charges against a man for hacking into government computers in order to steal information on government employees. The man now arrested and indicted, Lauri Love, said the purpose of the hack and theft was to “disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government.” Love is a native of England but was arrested in New Jersey.
“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,” the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, stated. “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 federal indictment, filed in Newark federal court, charges Love with one count of accessing a U.S. department or agency computer without authorization and one count of conspiracy to access a government computer. The announcement did not say whether Love was a British citizen.
The three unindicted co-conspirators comes from New South Wales, Australia, and “in or near Sweden.” No names were given.
Lauri Love had various online handles including “nsh,” “route,” and “peace.” In online conversations using those handles Love allegedly expressed interest in hacking US government computers.
The indictment said that, while in New Jersey between October 2012 and this month, Love worked with his co-conspirators to scan the Internet using an automated process to identify computer systems vulnerable to cyber attacks. It said they would then plan their attacks by communicating in Internet chat rooms known as internet relay chats, or IRCs…
“Once inside the compromised computer systems, the co-conspirators placed hidden ‘shells’ or ‘backdoors’ within the networks, which allowed the co-conspirators to return to the compromised computer systems at a later date and steal confidential data,” the indictment stated.
The investigation was carried out by U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command-Computer Crime Investigative Unit and the FBI in Newark. Love and co-conspirators hacked into computers for the Army, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the EPA and NASA.
It will interesting to see what Love’s charges ultimately amount to compared to what Barrett Brown faces for much more benign activity.
Update: Here is the indictment.