Lauri Love was arrested last week in England with three additional co-conspirators for allegedly hacking into US government agencies systems. The agencies attacked include NASA, the Pentagon, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The indictment (can be viewed at the end of this article) against the hackers detailed coding to leave open virtual doors for the team to gather information and data at a later date. Their point was to reportedly disrupt the process of the United States government. It was then reported the group took to Twitter to brag about their escapades to their followers.
Authorities in the United Kingdom filed charges against Love and his hacking buds for performing illegal hacking activities while based in England. Facing charges under the Computer Misuse Act in his country, Love will also be facing a laundry list of charges from the United States. Those charges will encompass accessing confidential government databases without permission and for the intention of conspiracy. United States Attorney Paul Fishman stated the hacking took place from October 2012 until this month, as government officials scrambled to track down the young hacker.
Prosecutors in the US advised Love would access not only Twitter to brag, but chat rooms as well. The confident hacker would meet up with his co-conspirators in the cyber-chat, bragging about accessing and “owning lots of nasa sites.” The information gathered included military personnel information, defense budgets, contract bidding, demolition of military facilities and per Fishman caused a significant loss of dollars for the United States.
Love was arrested this past Friday but also released on bond until his trial date which has been scheduled for February. In a heightened environment of government versus the people, there are many in social media who are defending the actions of Love and his crew. Moving over to a social media channel, Facebook, provides message conversation anonymity as a couple of fans of Love shared their thoughts:
It makes me feel like laughing. Sure, going to brag about it or discuss it is pretty stupid, but it makes me feel like saying: so government how does it feel when people check out what you are doing and have access to lots of personal information at their disposal?
Another Facebook subscriber agreed even thought the two parties had no knowledge of one another, but the reactions were similar:
If they did this to the common man, I’d be pretty mad. It’s our government and trust me, millions of Americans support these guys. They know the pure evil hand the government is playing. Between the NSA and Homeland Security, privacy is a thing of the past. The only thing these guys did was prove that people are not idiots and I can only imagine these kinds of attacks growing. I don’t have the skills and frankly I am a coward compared to these guys. Snowden was heralded as hero, these guys will be too.
Several other messages relayed similar intentions with only one message calling the actions kind of silly. While Love and his co-conspirators allegedly had access to thousands of federal employees’ personal information and budget information, very little is being stated about its use. At this time, Fishman has not clarified what the hackers did with the information they had access to. The shells and virtual back doors being left open began last year but little information is being released regarding the details of the information accessed.
NASA and additional US computer systems underwent hacks by Love and his co-conspirators. The young crew bragged on Twitter and in chat rooms which may have led to their capture and arrest. The indictment against the European hacking crew is being pursued by the United States and the UK. The US government is claiming significant financial losses from the result of the hack, although little information is being tied into the millions claimed. If Love is charged, he may face up to five years in federal prison and receive a fine of $250,000 or greater.