British geezer charged with spying

A British man has been arrested in England and charged by the United States and Britain with hacking into US government computer systems.

The New York Daily News is reporting how the systems that Lauri Love and three co-conspirators hacked into included the Pentagon’s Missile Defense (sic) Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US space agency NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Love, 28, and the unnamed co-conspirators, including two in Australia and one in Sweden, left “back doors” in the networks to later retrieve data.

Love was charged in Britain with violating the Computer Misuse Act, and charged in the United States with accessing a US government computer without permission and conspiracy.

US Attorney Paul Fishman, who announced the charges, said the hacking took place from October 2012 until this month. It compromised personal data of US military and information on defence budgets, contract bidding, and the demolition and disposal of military facilities, and caused “millions of dollars of losses”.

Love lives in Stradishall and was arrested at his home on October 25 by the cybercrime unit of Britain’s National Crime Agency and other officials, authorities said. He has been bailed until February 2014.

Love, who was also known as “nsh” and “route” and “peace,” used internet chat rooms to discuss the hacking and efforts to conceal it.

In one chat room, Love discussed the hacking of an Army Corps database that might have yielded 400,000 email addresses, and asked a co-conspirator to “grab one email for curiosity”, it is alleged.

In July 2013, he bragged about accessing a NASA database, telling another co-conspirator “ahaha, we owning lots of NASA sites,” it is also alleged.

The alleged hacked systems were found in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, and also included a server containing information about military personnel at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey.

Love faces up to five years in prison and a fine on each US criminal count, if he is found guilty of the alleged offences. Prosecutors said he faces additional charges in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, stemming from other unspecified “intrusions”