In a joint effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK’s National Crime Agency, Love was charged with conspiracy and accessing a US department or agency computer without authorization.
According to the indictment that was filed against Love in New Jersey, the Brit along with three other individuals living in Australia and Sweden, contaminated government computers with malware needed to steal information.
Love allegedly hacked into the computers, stole data of more than 1,000 employees and then wrote a tweet about his ‘accomplishment’.
This group of cyber criminals planned their hacking tactics over IRC instant messaging and used SQL injection techniques taking advantage of back-end databases. They also gained access by using vulnerable programs such as ColdFusion and an Adobe program.
Using the TOR network, known for allowing privacy while browsing the web, they attacked the government computers and avoided detection.
Love and his unnamed gang accessed information from a number of different agencies such as NASA and the US Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command.
The indictment states that the group attained the information of over 4,000 government employees working at the Missile Defense Agency and NASA. It also states that the damage done by the hackers cost them millions of dollars.
In addition to employee information Love accessed agency budgets and information regarding the disposal of military equipment.
The 28 year old Lauri Love, son of a Baptist minister, was also a member of the Occupy movement. It is indicated that Love was a leader in a protest against tuition increase at Glasgow University. He is also pictured at several other Occupy protests in Scotland.
If he is not extradited to the United States he could face 5 years in prison in addition to a hefty fine of $250,000. However, if he is extradited and faces trial in the United States, both penalties could double.
There are a number of claims that he publicized his criminal activity on a number of social media channels such as Twitter. There are also claims that he boasted to members of his group that he could take advantage of the US government easily if he wanted to.
His co-conspirators have not been named nor have they been charged with any crimes.