British Baptist minister’s son, 28, who ‘keeps to himself’ charged with hacking into top secret US Army databases, Nasa, and other government agencies
- Lauri Love from Stradishall, Suffolk arrested by National Crime Agency
- Love, 28, described in court papers as ‘sophisticated and prolific hacker’
- Charges follow a joint operation by a number of international police forces
- He could be extradited to US where if convicted he faces 10 years in jail
- Love has previously been a leader in the Occupy protest movement
| UK Daily Mail
Arrested: Lauri Love, from Suffolk, is alleged to have stolen ‘massive amounts’ of confidential information, including details of military servicemen, by breaking into thousands of computers
The British son of a Baptist minister has been arrested and charged with hacking into the computer networks of the US military and Nasa, causing millions of dollars of damage.
Lauri Love, an activist in the Occupy movement, is alleged to have stolen ‘massive amounts’ of confidential information – including details of military servicemen – by breaking into thousands of computers.
The 28-year-old from Stradishall, Suffolk, is said to have bragged in messages with his co-conspirators: ‘You have no idea how much we can f*** with the US government if we wanted to’.
Neighbours of his family spoke of their shock at seeing him arrested in the quiet, rural community.
Love was described as a ‘sophisticated and prolific’ hacker in court documents filed in New Jersey, where he is charged with one count of accessing a US department or agency computer without permission and another charge of conspiracy.
He was arrested on Friday at his parents’ semi-detached home in Suffolk, from where he is thought to have hacked the computers.
The operation was carried out by the National Crime Agency, the new elite force known as ‘Britain’s FBI’.
Love could be extradited to the US, where if convicted he faces up to ten years in prison and a fine for twice the damage caused.
The US government said Love worked with two other people in Australia and one in Sweden – who have not been charged – ‘to disrupt the operations and infrastructure’ of the federal government.
From October 2012 until July this year it is claimed he hacked into thousands of government computer systems – including those of the US Army, US Missile Defense Agency and Nasa – and left behind ‘back doors’ through which he could return to get sensitive data.
The hacking ‘substantially impaired the functioning of dozens of computer servers’ and caused ‘millions of dollars in damage’ to government agencies, according to the indictment.
It includes pieces of instant message conversations Love allegedly had with his partners as the hacks took place. In one from July , he seems to brag about infiltrating Nasa networks. He allegedly wrote: ‘lol Nasa. Ahaha, we owning lots of Nasa sites … I think we can do some hilarious stuff with it.’
In another post, he wrote: ‘This stuff is really sensitive. It’s basically every piece of information you’d need to do full identity theft on any employee or contractor for the [government agency].’ It is claimed that Love, who used the online pseudonyms ‘nsh’, ‘route’, ‘peace’, ‘shift’ and ‘love’, planned to use social media, including Twitter, to publicise the attacks.
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Love, 28, photographed here during an Occupy protest at Glasgow University, has been charged with allegedly hacking into the computer systems of the United States army, Nasa and other federal agencies
In one message he planned to announce an attack ‘so it rolls along the morning news in US and gets Europe for the afternoon and evening.’
Last night, at his parents’ home, Love said after being released on bail: ‘I can’t say anything right now. I only just got home after being at government headquarters today.
‘My dad is ill and my parents both work at the prison so it wouldn’t be fair on them to talk about what’s going on with all this just at this moment.’
Love’s father Alexander Love, 60, a Baptist minister, works as a chaplain at HMP Highpoint North. His mother Sirkka-Liisa Love, 59, also works at the category C prison as a teacher. Last night neighbours in the small Suffolk village told of their shock at the allegations.
Student Kayleigh Streeton, 18, said: ‘My brother came home and saw police cars park up outside and they were taking computers away.
‘We knew there was something going on but it wasn’t until we heard it on the news that we realised what he was accused of.
‘You didn’t see him around the estate much and, when you do see him out, he mostly keeps to himself. His parents are friendly with their neighbours and they seem like nice people.’
Another resident said: ‘We didn’t have any suspicions and to think something like that might have happened under our noses is certainly a surprise.’
Love’s father, who is Scottish, was previously minister at the London Road Baptist Church in Lowestoft. A worshipper there said: ‘Alexander was a very respected minister in the town.’
Raid: Love was arrested at his parent’s home in the village of Stradishall on Friday from where he is thought to have hacked the computers
Love was a leader in protests at Glasgow University, where he was a student. He helped organise demonstrations including a sit-in as part of a protest against cuts to higher education.
He is also believed to have been a high-profile figure in the Scottish Occupy movement, part of the protests which swept throughout much of the world in 2011, and has been pictured at Occupy marches.
Love, who is believed to have studied physics, maths and computing, was apparently involved in 2011’s ‘Hetherington House Occupation’, in which dozens of protesters took over an unused university building in Glasgow and stayed there for seven months.
The charges against Love were filed at the federal court in Newark, New Jersey, because he allegedly used a server in the state as part of his activities. He also faces charges in Virginia for other alleged intrusions.
The National Crime Agency said Love had been arrested under the Computer Misuse Act and had been released on bail until February.
Daniel Andrews, director of the US Army’s computer crime investigative unit, said: ‘Computer intrusions present significant risks to national security and our military operations.’
In the past, convicted hackers and leakers have faced stiff penalties in the U.S. – former soldier Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea, was this year sentenced to 35 years in prison for passing official secrets to WikiLeaks.
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