A former U.S. Navy systems administrator who worked in the nuclear reactor department aboard the USS Harry S. Truman has been charged with hacking into sensitive government websites through the Navy’s own network, Jasper Hamill of The Register reports.
Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, the alleged ringleader of the hacker group Team Digi7al, is being charged alongside his 20-year-old partner Daniel Trenton Krueger.
Team Digi7al allegedly hacked the Navy’s Smart Web Move (SWM) database, which stored the social security numbers, names, and birth dates of 220,000 service members.
Other targets of Team Digi7al included the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Department of Homeland Security. The pair would share the information they found through links on Twitter.
According to court documents obtained by The Register, Knight “called himself a ‘nuclear black hat’ who fought for the people of the United States, not the government.”
Krueger, according to prosecutors, said he hacked Navy computers merely “out of boredom.”
The authorities have identified three other Team Digi7al hackers, but they are not currently facing charges.
Team Digi7al’s hacking has caused the Navy $US514,000 in damages. A call center has also been set up to help sailors who were affected by the breaches in security.
Knight, since his arrest Monday, has been discharged from the military. A trial date has not yet been set, but if convicted, Krueger and Knight could face a fine of $US250,000 and up to five years in prison. They will also have to pay restitution to their victims.
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