US Navy Nuclear System Admin Arrested, Freedom Hacker

US Navy’s Nuclear Reactor System Admin Arrested on Hacking Charges

The United States is charging two men for their involvement in conspiracy to hack computers and computer systems of various high profile government and commercial institutions, including those of the U.S. Navy and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), according to U.S. Attorneys Office in Tulsa Oklahoma.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement regarding a 27 year old man in Virgina, Nicholas Knight, to be one of the two conspirators being charged for the conspiracy to hack computers and computer systems. Knight served as a system administrator in the nuclear reactor department of an aircraft carrier for the United States Navy before his arrest.

Following Knight, a 20 year old man residing in Illinois, Daniel Krueger, an Illinois community college student, is begin charged as the second conspirator to hack computers and computer systems. Krueger attended an Illinois community college and studied  network administration, before his arrested for plotting to hack that would steal identities, obstruct justice, and damage protected networks and computer systems belonging to high profile institutions. “The Navy quickly identified the breach and tracked down the alleged culprits through their online activity, revealing an extensive computer hacking scheme committed across the country and even abroad,” noted U.S. Attorney Danny Williams.

The statement issued by the Department of Justice notes that both Knight and Krueger were known to be members of a hacking group known as “Team Digi7al”. The team targeted government entities, such as the U.S. Navy, and other high profile institutions. Knight and Krueger hacked over thirty public and private organizations stealing sensitive information. Victims that have fallen victim to Team Digi7al include:

  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • AT&T U-verse
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Kawasaki
  • Library of Congress
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Louisville University
  • MeTV Network
  • Montgomery Police Department (Alabama)
  • Peruvian Ambassador’s email (in Bolivia)
  • San Jose State University
  • Stanford University
  • Toronto Police Service (Canada)
  • Ultimate Car Page
  • University of Alabama
  • University of British Columbia (Canada)
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • World Health Organization

The Naval Criminal Investigate Service (NCIS), investigators identified Knight and Krueger to be the two alleged hackers and conspirators. The release noted that there are no allegations pertaining to the alleged hacks into Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, and the Toronto Police Service based in Canada.

The NCIS exposed the breach of the Navy Smart Web Move database in June of 2012. The found database manages transfers for service members of all military branches and stored their sensitive credentials. Sensitive documents contain personals date of birth, names, and social security numbers, the breach contained about 220,000 service members records.

The data breach from the organization Team Digi7al attacked was posted online and shared on the teams twitter. Due to the breach, the Navy was forced to cease use of the system, mitigate the damage, and pay affected employees for identity theft and credit monitoring protection.

No trial dates are set for the two men as of today, but if convicted it is clear both men convicted for the conspiracy to hack will face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine, as reported by the Department of Defense.

Update October 24: 20-Year-Old Daniel Krueger has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison.

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