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UK national indicted on charges of hacking US government systems

The US Attorney for the District of New Jersey [official website] filled charges [indictment, PDF] Monday against a UK national for allegedly hacking into thousands of computer systems operated by the US government. The accused, Lauri Love and three unnamed co-conspirators are accused of infiltrating the computer systems of numerous US government agencies including the US Missile Defense Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) [official websites], in order to steal data including the personal identity information of US military personal and government employees. The indictment indicates that the attacks have cost US government agencies millions of dollars in damages. The alleged attacks took place between October 2012 and October 2013. According to the indictment the accused and his co-conspirators used, among other techniques, SQL Injection Attacks [ZDNet backgrounder] and exploitation of vulnerabilities in Adobe Coldfusion [official website] applications to gain access to the government agency's systems. Last Friday the UK's Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA) [official website] arrested [press release] Love at his home in connection with an ongoing investigation by NCA into alleged hacking attacks. If convicted, Love faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Last December the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) [official website] announced [JURIST report] that accused computer hacker Gary McKinnon [BBC profile; advocacy website] will not face charges in England and Wales. McKinnon is accused of hacking into NASA, Department of Defense, Air Force, Army and Navy computers in violation of US computer laws [18 USC § 1030]. In October 2012 Home Secretary Theresa May [official profile] announced that she would block [JURIST report] McKinnon's extradition to the US for mental health reasons, leaving it up to CPS to determine whether he would face trial in England and Wales.

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