HACKER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO ATTACK INTELLIGENCE BUSINESS

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Associated Press

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 7:30 PM

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Jeremy Hammond of Chicago, a member of the LulzSec hacking collective, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to attack a global intelligence business.

Hammond, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking.

He was arrested last year with the help of Hector Xavier Monsegur, the hacker known as Sabu. In 2011, Monsegur pleaded guilty to a dozen counts of conspiracy to attack computers and subsequently helped law enforcement officials infiltrate LulzSec, an offshoot of Anonymous, a hacking collective.

Law enforcement officials accused LulzSec of defacing company websites, stealing confidential information and putting victims temporarily out of business. Hammond was arrested in connection with a breach of the company Stratfor Global Intelligence and charged with stealing credit card information and using it to make more than $700,000 in fraudulent charges.

The authorities, with Monsegur’s help, had persuaded Hammond and Stratfor’s other attackers to use FBI computers to store data stolen from Stratfor. The hackers transferred “multiple gigabytes of confidential data,” including 60,000 credit card numbers, records for 860,000 Stratfor clients, employees’ email and financial data to FBI computers, according to the complaint against Hammond. Many of those email messages later appeared on WikiLeaks.

Hammond told Judge Loretta A. Preska of U.S. District Court in Manhattan that in 2011 and 2012 he had gained unauthorized access to Stratfor’s computer systems and several other groups, including the FBI’s Virtual Academy, the public safety department in Arizona and Vanguard Defense Industries, which makes drones.

“As part of each of these hacks I took and disseminated confidential information,” Hammond said. “I knew what I was doing was against the law.”

Hammond could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison, prosecutors said, and has agreed to pay as much as $2.5 million in restitution.

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