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A North Wilkesboro man charged with being part of an international hacking group that targeted high-ranking federal officials and U.S. government computer systems is expected to enter a plea in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., on Tuesday.
Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, is scheduled to plead guilty, said Joshua Stueve, director of communications for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Boggs’ codefendant, Justin Gray Liverman, 24, of Morehead City, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. Liverman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12 and faces up to five years in prison.
Boggs is a former student at North Wilkes High School.
Federal authorities said Boggs and Liverman were associated with a hacking group called “Crackas With Attitude” that targeted Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and other federal officials, as well as some of their family members.
Officers of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Boggs at his home on Hulda Street, which is off Shatley Orchard Road and N.C. 18 North, in early September. A sheriff’s office spokesman said computer equipment at his home was seized.
According to an FBI agent’s 37-page affidavit in support of the charges filed against Boggs and Liverman, the two lived with their respective parents when the hacking occurred. Boggs used “Incursio” as an online name.
Boggs and Liverman were both charged with conspiring to falsely impersonate a U.S. officer or employee, aggravated identity theft, making harassing phone calls, fraud and related activities with computers and false information and hoaxes.
Authorities said at least three teenage members of Crackas With Attitude lived in Britain. Last year, British authorities said they arrested the group’s suspected ringleader, a 17-year-old known as “Cracka.”
According to the affidavit, Boggs said he wanted to carry on Cracka’s work if the leader was arrested.
Federal authorities said Crackas With Attitude members used “social engineering” hacking techniques such as victim impersonation to unlawfully access personal online accounts of senior federal officials, their families and U.S. government computer systems.
The Washington Post reported that according to U.S. officials familiar with the investigation, the group hacked into the accounts of Mark Giuliano, a former FBI deputy director; Amy Hess, the FBI executive assistant director for science and technology; Gregory Mecher, married to White House communications director Jen Psaki; and Harold Rosenbaum, chief executive of a CIA contractor.
The Post reported that Cracka gained access to Giuliano’s Comcast account information and began forwarding his cell phone calls to a number associated with the Free Palestine Movement.
According to the affidavit, Cracka appears to have gotten into a law enforcement database by calling an FBI help desk and asking for Giuliano’s password to be reset.
The group is accused of using the same tactics to access an internal website for staffers at the Civil Division of the Department of Justice and post employee information online. In that instance, a member of the group allegedly used the credentials of a Justice Department contractor.
FBI and U.S. Justice Department information was found on Liverman’s computer, according to authorities.
According to the affidavit, the hacking group made a false bomb threat to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and published information about more than 80 law enforcement officers in the Miami area.
The group is accused of hacking into U.S. Justice Department computer systems and carrying out what is known as “phonebombing”—blitzing a person with multiple harassing calls and text messages.
Federal officials said the charges involve offenses that occurred from October 2015 to February 2016.