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Briton arrested on charges of hacking U.S. government computers

October 29, 2013|By Janet Stobart
  • U.S. Atty. Paul J. Fishman, seen in a file photo, says Lauri Love is accused of "breaching thousands of computer systems in the United States and elsewhere" and stealing "massive quantities of confidential data."
U.S. Atty. Paul J. Fishman, seen in a file photo, says Lauri Love is accused… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )

LONDON -- A young British computer hacker has been arrested by Britain’s cyber crime unit at the request of American prosecutors on charges of infiltrating U.S. government and military files, Britain’s newly formed National Crime Agency announced.

Lauri Love, the son of a vicar, was arrested Friday at his home in the rural village of Stradishall in the county of Suffolk, 70 miles north of London. The arrest was made public late Monday.

An extradition request is expected from the United States, where Love has been indicted on one count of accessing a U.S. government computer without authorization and one count of conspiracy. He is accused of “breaching thousands of computer systems in the United States and elsewhere” and stealing “massive quantities of confidential data,” according to a statement from U.S. Atty. Paul J. Fishman of New Jersey.

Love is specifically accused of hacking computers used by the Army, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. The breakins allegedly occurred between October 2012 and this month.

The indictment also lists three unidentified co-conspirators in Australia and Sweden who have not been charged.

According to the indictment, the hackers communicated via secure chat rooms using constantly changing nicknames and placed hidden “shells” or “back doors” within the networks, which allowed them to later return to the compromised computer systems and steal confidential data, including personal data for military personnel.

Their intention, according to the U.S. attorney, was “to disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government.”

Love was arrested by the National Crime Agency, Britain's new crime-fighting agency which operates the National Cyber Crime Unit. He was charged under the Computer Misuse Act on suspicion “of network intrusion offences against the U.S. Army, U.S. military and the U.S. government.”

He was released on bail until February.


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