Navy Computers Hacked With Several Arrested


A Navy nuclear systems administrator and a resident of Illinois are among several individuals  charged with hacking into the US Navy computer systems, and those  of more than 30 organizations. Among those charged were Daniel Trenton Krueger, 20, of Salem, Illinois, and Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Virginia. They  have been charged with conspiring to hack computer systems in attempted identity theft, obstruction of justice, and willful damage to protected computer systems.

Nicholas Knight was an active enlisted member of the US Navy, appointed to the aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman, as an administrator of systems, while Kruger studied network administration at Kaskaskia Community College. The extent of the illegal hacking activity covered several regions, including some foreign countries, and they were tracked and identified by the Navy, who monitored their online activity.

Among the agencies hacked, were the Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization, John Hopkins and San Jose State Universities, and the Library of Congress. The Navy’s Smart Web Move database that stores the personal records of more than 220,000 members was also penetrated in June of 2012.

The criminal charges laid  against several individuals who hacked the Navy’s computer network, indicate that Knight, who appears to have been involved with hacking for at least a decade, was self-appointed as the leader of the group named Team Digi7al. He was the spokesperson, while Krueger apparently completed the manual hacking work. He claimed that he was bored, while another member published a post indicating that the group may have been politically motivated, They also claim that  it was done because they simply were able to do it and it was fun.

A date for the trials has not yet been set, but if convicted, both Knight and Kruger face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victims. According to documents filed in Federal court in Tulsa Oklahoma, the group posted the illegally obtained information online, in efforts to prove themselves to the hacking community.

Arrests of hackers should remind everyone of the dilemma faced when the use of ethical hacking skills  can be put to good use. At the same time,  they can also be used for nefarious purposes. Both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have both been described as hackers; however their beliefs are contrary to the purpose for which the skills were intended to serve.

There appears to be no rhyme or reason or logic to the attacks perpetrated by Team Digi7al, as prosecutors allege that the group attacked organizations, which included the Toronto Police force, as well as the US Department of Defense. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service system discovered the breach, and state that stolen information was sent by Mr. Krueger to Mr. Knight, who then published some of it online on the group’s Twitter account.

The cost of the hacking attacks, committed on the Navy’s computers which resulted in the arrests of several individuals, was more than $500,000, as the Navy had to shut down and upgrade the system, They also paid for reparation , identity theft protection and credit monitoring of the employees who were affected.

by Dale Davidson