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Former US government employee charged with attempted cybercrime against US agency

[JURIST] A former US government employee with the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission was charged [indictment, PDF; press release] with a four count violation of federal law in connection with an attempted phishing scheme involving Department of Energy employee emails. Charles Harvey Eccleston, aged 62, was charged two weeks ago, but the indictment were unsealed on Friday after Eccleston made his first appearance before the US District Court of the District of Columbia [official website]. The indictment charges Eccleston with four felony offenses including three counts of crimes involving unauthorized access of computers and one count of wire fraud. Eccleston's scheme involved sending emails to federal employee email accounts that contained a virus that would extract sensitive information pertaining to US government nuclear information and send it to individuals in a foreign country. Acting US Attorney Cohen stated "[t]hanks to an innovative operation by the FBI, no malicious code was actually transmitted to government computers. This prosecution demonstrates federal law enforcement's vigorous efforts to neutralize cyber threats that put consumers, our economy, and our national security at risk." The government in the Phillipines detained Eccleston after he came into an embassy stating he had stolen information from the US Government. The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] thanked the Philippine government for their help. Eccleston will remain detained until a hearing scheduled for May 20.

Due to cybercrime's international reach, many countries have recently began to implement specific laws pertaining to the Internet and cyberspace. In July 2014, police arrested seven individuals [JURIST report] on charges connecting them to an international group that defrauded the online ticketing service StubHub [official website] of approximately $1.6 million. In February, the Philippines high court upheld [JURIST report] its Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012; which combats various online crimes such as hacking, identify theft, child pornography and libel. In April 2013, the US House of Representatives passed [JURIST report] the controversial cybersecurity bill known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) [text, PDF] which was designed as a way to stop cyber attacks on US infrastructure as well as private companies.

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