Suspect arrested in US Department of Defense hacking

6 March 2014

A 23-year old man was arrested on 4 March by officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit, on suspicion of offences relating to a network intrusion on the US Department of Defense in June 2014.

US Department of DefenseThe individual was arrested on the morning of 4 March in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. The activity was conducted by the NCA’s NCCU as part of week of NCA-led intensive national activity targeting cyber crime that involved 56 arrests over 20 separate operations across the UK by officers from 10 Regional Organised Crime Units, the Met Police, and industry and Government partners.

The network intrusion (hacking) attack occurred on 15 June 2014 and obtained data used as part of an international satellite message dissemination system (Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services) used by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to communicate with employees via email or phone around the world.

The data loss consisted of non-confidential contact information for approximately 800 people including name, title, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. It also included device information for approximately 34,400 devices including IMEI numbers which are the unique codes used to identify a mobile device. No sensitive data was obtained and none of the data obtained could be used as personally identifiable information or compromise US national security interests.

Following the attempt the hacker responsible posted screenshots taken of the dashboard used to control the database as well as the following text on the Pastebin website:

“We smite the Lizards, LizardSquad your time is near. We’re in your bases, we control your satellites. The missiles shall rein upon thy who claim alliance, watch your heads, ** T-47:59:59 until lift off. We're one, we're many, we lurk in the dark,we're everywhere and anywhere. Live Free Die Hard! DoD, DISA EMSS : Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services is not all, Department of Defense has no Defenses.”

This week, and this operation in particular illustrates that cyber crime has no national boundaries. That is why we’re working tirelessly with our partners across the UK and internationally as part of an intensive week of action targeting cyber criminals. With crimes ranging from network intrusion, malware development, cyber enabled fraud and DDoS attacks. We are not only targeting those who attack the UK public and businesses. The National Crime Agency has worked in collaboration with the FBI and DoD, Defence Criminal Investigation Service to investigate and pursue those in the UK who conduct their cyber criminality both nationally and internationally.

Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said:

“Behind this week’s activity is the message that all of us, as individuals, businesses or law enforcement agencies, have a role to plan in making the UK a safe place to enjoy the huge opportunities provided by the internet.

“Awareness of the type of cyber crime dangers which are out there is vital, whoever you are, as is collaboration between organisations across different sectors, regions and countries to develop the most effective ways of combating those threats.

“We will continue to work with partners to pursue and disrupt the major crime groups targeting the UK, but also, crucially, to make the UK as difficult as possible a target for cyber criminals in the first place.”

US Department of Defence Criminal Investigative Service, Special Agent in Charge, Jeffrey Thorpe said:

"This arrest underscores DCIS commitment and the joint ongoing efforts among international law enforcement to stop cyber criminals in their tracks, DCIS Special Agents will use every tool at their disposal to pursue and bring to justice those that attack the Department of Defence."

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