FBI charges Stradishall man over alleged computer hacking

Lauri Love photographed during an Occupy protest at Glasgow University ENGANL00120131029104338
Lauri Love photographed during an Occupy protest at Glasgow University ENGANL00120131029104338
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Lauri Love, the son of a Stradishall baptist minister, faces two charges in the USA connected with alleged international computer hacking.

The FBI and Manhattan State Attorney yesterday ‘unsealed’ an indictment that the 28-year-old, who was arrested at home in October by officers from the UK National Crime Agency, has been charged with computer hacking and aggravated identity theft.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged, Lauri Love is 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.

“We place a high priority on the investigation and prosecution of hackers who intrude into our infrastructure and threaten the personal security of our citizens.”

The FBI’s New York Assistant Director George Venizelos said, “As alleged in the indictment, Love was part of a sophisticated network of criminals involved in computer intrusions.

“Cyber crime knows no boundaries and justice will not stop at international borders.”

According to the allegations in the indictment unsealed yesterday in Manhattan’s federal court, from October 2012 to February 2013, Love worked with other computer hackers worldwide to gain access to the Federal Reserve’s computer servers to ‘steal and then publicly disseminate confidential information found on those servers, including personal identification information’.

It claims the hackers communicated with each other via a restricted online chat room and messages there show Love and the other hackers were searching the internet for computer servers running particular software which they knew had an access vulnerability.

According to the indictment, in October 2012, Love discovered the software was used on Federal Reserve servers and hacked into them.

Love is alleged to have used his ‘unauthorized access’ to steal confidential information, including the names, email addresses and phone numbers of users of the Federal Reserve computer system, which were posted to a previously hacked website.

The FBI say if he is found guilty he could face 10 years jail. He is currently released on UK bail.

A campaign to fight extradition has been started, supported by Julia O’Dwyer who helped her son Richard successfully fight a two-year battle against extradition to the US over website copyright charges.