Salem Man Charged In Large Computer Hacking Conspiracy
The single-count information was filed in the Northern District of Oklahoma against Daniel Trenton Krueger of Salem and 27-year-old Nicholas Paul Knight of Chantilly, Virginia. They are accused of hacking computers and computer systems as part of a plan to steal identities, obstruct justice and damage a protected computer. The hackers were part of a hacking group called Team Digi7al.
At the time of the hacking attacks, Knight was an active duty enlisted Navy member assigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman as a systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department. Krueger was a 2012 Salem Community High School graduate who was studying network administration at Kaskaskia College.
The information states Knight served as the criminal organization's self-proclaimed leader and publicist, while Krueger completed the technical hacking work of the SWM database and claimed to do so 'out of boredom.' One conspirator stated online that the group was 'somewhat politically inclined to release the things (they had), but also because it was fun and we can'. After hacking the organizations, the defendants and other conspirators posted links to the stolen information on Team Digi7al's Twitter account to make the private information available to the public.
The U.S. Attorney for Northern Oklahoma Danny Williams says 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.
According to the information, in June 2012, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service detected a breach of the U.S. Navy's Smart Web Move database. Prior to this breach, the Navy used SWM to manage transfers for service members of all branches of the military. The SWM database stored sensitive personal records, including Social Security numbers, names, and dates of birth, for approximately 220,000 service members. The servers that stored the records were located in Tulsa, giving rise to the vanue in the Northern District of Oklahoma.
The Information alleges that Knight, Krueger, and other Team Digi7al co-conspirators hacked the computer systems of over thirty public and private organizations to steal sensitive information. The victims included the following organizations:
- U.S. Navy
- U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- AT&T U-verse
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Library of Congress
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Louisville University
- MeTV Network
- Montgomery Police Department (Alabama)
- Peruvian Ambassador’s email (in Bolivia)
- San Jose State University
- Stanford University
- Toronto Police Service (Canada)
- Ultimate Car Page
- University of Alabama
- University of British Columbia (Canada)
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- World Health Organization
If convicted, Knight and Krueger face a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, in addition to paying restitution to the victims of the crime. A trial date has not been set.
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