A former Navy sailor who carried out hacks on US government and private websites from a US aircraft carrier said he and his associates were “just a group of people that were dumb and did dumb things.”
“Although a lot of people are saying I was the leader of some crime organisations that was out to get people [that] wasn’t true. Just a group of people that were dumb and did dumb things,” he said.
Prosecutors claim that while Knight served in the Navy as a systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department of the USS Harry S. Truman, he was a self-proclaimed “nuclear black hat”. They say he was the leader of a hacking group called Team Digi7al that stole or attempted to steal confidential or private information and post it online.
The group hit high-profile US government websites – including the website for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a Department of Homeland Security site and a US Navy site. But they also hit sites at random including the websites of the Library of Congress, Harvard University, the World Health Organisation, San Jose State University and Kawasaki.
After the attacks, the group then bragged about their accomplishments on Twitter, with Knight acting as the main “publicist,” according to the Department of Justice.
Three alleged members of the group were minors when they joined and one of the members told told investigators that some in the group were “somewhat politically inclined” to find and release secret information.
However most of them were just in it for the Lols. Knight said he is not very political. However, he did say that he was aboard the Truman while allegedly conducting unlawful Team Digi7al activities on the Navy’s computer network. The filing does not accuse him of trying to hack the ship’s own protected systems.
Knight said that it was one of his co-conspirators who was the one actually doing most of the hacking, and Knight said he was just posting the results. Knight also said he worked with investigators for four months to help catch that co-conspirator. The filing said Knight had agreed to cooperate with authorities after his home was raided in February 2013. Knight was never arrested.
“I did something dumb and am willing to suffer the consequences,” Knight told ABC News.