There's a good chance federal authorities enjoyed arresting Lauri Love, a 28-year-old British man accused of hacking into multiple government agencies over the last year to steal confidential employee information in order to publish it.
New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the arrest in a statement Monday. Love is charged with one count of "accessing a U.S. department or agency computer without authorization and one count of conspiring to do the same." The U.S. attorney's office says Love faces "five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, on each of the two counts with which he is charged." He was arrested Friday at his home in Stradishall, England by the British Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA) after a long investigation with help from the FBI, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Love and his merry band of compu-anarchist co-conspirators have been hacking multiple U.S. government agencies, including NASA and the Missile Command Agency, since October 2012 up until this month. The group was using secure servers, sometimes ones on the notorious Tor network, to launch attacks on multiple government networks. Once inside, Love and his team would leave "back door" malware code behind, allowing them to reenter the government networks with relative ease. The team coordinated their attacks in secure online chat rooms.
Or, so they thought.
Once inside, the team was stealing personally identifiable information of thousands of government employees and contractors. They didn't want to sell the information to the bad guys. They weren't in it for the money. Their plan was to distribute the information online in an attempt to "disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government," according to the U.S. attorney's office. The Justice Department's indictment has chat transcripts revealing Love, who was known as "route," "nsh," and "peace," wanted to leak the personal information, with help from some social media promotion, at the best time to make the news:
Except the Feds got to the bunch of hacking fameballs first, so the leak never happened.
You can read the full indictment here. Love will be charged in New Jersey because that's where one of the government agencies he cracked into is located. He also faces similar charges in Virginia.