U.K. Man Arrested for Allegedly Hacking U.S. Defense Networks

A British hacker has been arrested on charges that he illegally accessed U.S. government computer networks, including the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Army, in order to steal the personal data of government employees. “You have no idea how much we can fuck with the U.S. government if we wanted to,” Lauri Love, the accused hacker, told a co-conspirator in a chat room, according to court documents.

Love, 28, reportedly carried out the attack to “disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government” using large “quantities of non-public data,” according to the federal indictment filed Monday in New Jersey.

“According to the indictment, Lauri Love and conspirators hacked into thousands of networks, including many belonging to the United States military and other government agencies,” the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, stated, according to the Star-Ledger. “As part of their alleged scheme, they stole military data and personal identifying information belonging to servicemen and women. Such conduct endangers the security of our country and is an affront to those who serve.”

Between October 2012 and October 2013, Love and other hackers he met online allegedly installed thousands of computer malware programs—allowing them access to the confidential files at a later date—in networks belonging to the U.S. Army, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From NBC News:

Using the name “peace,” Love allegedly said in a chat room message that, “We might able to get at real confidential s___.” In another exchange, he and a coconspirator allegedly talk about stealing 400,000 emails. In yet another, Love allegedly says, “We own NASA … I think we can do some hilarious stuff with it.”

Love was arrested Monday as part of separate investigation by British authorizes. He was charged with one count of accessing a U.S. government computer and two counts of conspiracy. He faces a five-year sentence and $250,000 fine for each charge.

[Image via AP]