Illinois man sentenced for hacking U.S. Navy, other victims

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A Salem, Ill., community college student has been sentenced to two years in prison for hacking the U.S. Navy, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and over 50 other computer systems.

Daniel Trenton Krueger, 20, of Salem, was one of two leaders of a hacking group called “Team Digi7al,” according to prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced Wednesday.

A co-defendant, Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Va., was on active duty on an aircraft carrier at the time of the hacks. He will be sentenced Nov. 21.

The two were accused of conspiring “to hack computers and computer systems as part of a plan to steal identities, obstruct justice, and damage a protected computer” from April 2012 to June 2013, court documents and prosecutors said.

Krueger, who was studying network administration at an undisclosed college, did the hacking “out of boredom,” prosecutors said. He went by the names Thor, Orunu, Gambit and Chronus.

Knight, a former systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department of the USS Harry S. Truman, was the self-proclaimed leader and publicist of Team Digi7al, prosecutors said. He used the names Inertia, Iner7ia, Logic and Solo and has been a hacker since the age of 16, charging documents say.

The investigation began in June 2012, when the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) detected a breach of a Naval database located in Oklahoma that contains the Social Security numbers, names, and birth dates of roughly approximately 222,000 members of the military.

“The Navy quickly identified the breach and tracked down the alleged culprits through their online activity, revealing an extensive computer hacking scheme committed across the country and even abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams of the Northern District of Oklahoma.

The NCIS and Defense Criminal Investigative Service identified Knight and Krueger as the hackers of the Navy database as well as systems belonging to the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization, AT&T U-verse, universities, police departments in Toronto and Alabama and the entire email account of the Peruvian ambassador to Bolivia, prosecutors said.

They posted links to the data via Team Digi7al’s Twitter account, and one co-conspirator said they released the data because they were “somewhat politically inclined to” but also because it was “fun, and we can,” prosecutors said.

The U-verse hack compromised the personal information of 3,500 customers. The June 2012 Navy hack left 700 overseas military members unable to access the system and get logistical support for their transfers for more than 10 weeks and cost the Navy more than $500,000, documents say.

After the NCIS searched Knight’s Virginia home in February of 2013, he admitted many of his Team Digi7al activities and agreed to cooperate, but told a juvenile co-conspirator to delete data, charging documents say.

That juvenile and two others who hacked for Team Digi7al were not charged, court documents say.

 

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