NEW YORK (AP) – A British man accused of hacking into U.S. government computer networks was charged in a new indictment unsealed Thursday with infiltrating the Federal Reserve’s computers.
Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, England, was charged with computer hacking and aggravated identity theft, which carry a potential penalty of up to 12 years in prison. He initially was arrested in Great Britain in October and released on bail after he was charged under a United Kingdom law that permits the arrest of anyone who starts attacks from the U.K. on computers anywhere in the world.
U.S. authorities in the fall had said Love cost the federal government millions of dollars by hacking into the computer systems of various agencies, including the U.S. Army, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. Those charges were brought in federal court in Newark, N.J. He also faced federal charges in Virginia for other alleged intrusions.
In the latest case, prosecutors said Love broke into the Federal Reserve network between October 2012 and February 2013 and then posted on a website the names, email addresses and phone numbers of users of the Federal Reserve computer system.
His lawyer did not immediately respond to a comment request.
“Cybercrime knows no boundaries, and justice will not stop at international borders,” said George Venizelos, head of the New York office of the FBI.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Love was “a sophisticated hacker who broke into Federal Reserve computers, stole sensitive personal information, and made it widely available, leaving people vulnerable to malicious use of that information.”
According to the indictment, Love bragged to other hackers in December 2012 that he controlled the server for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Using the moniker “peace,” Love told others in a chat room that he had “shelled,” or infiltrated, the Federal Reserve computer system and that he controlled several Federal Reserve websites, the indictment said.
It said he discussed possibly defacing the Federal Reserve website and sending fake emails to users of the Federal Reserve computer system.
The indictment said he informed other chat room members in February 2013 that he planned to publicly disseminate Federal Reserve computer system users’ passwords and phone numbers.
Then, it said, he later announced to his online chat room friends that he was about to “drop another little federal reserve bomb” by disclosing additional passwords and phone numbers.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)