Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Guilty Plea Of Jeremy Hammond For Hacking Into The Stratfor Website
Hammond Also Admits Hacks of Various Company, Federal, State, and Local Government Websites
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JEREMY HAMMOND, a/k/a “Anarchaos,” pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to conspiracy to engage in computer hacking for his role in the December 2011 hack of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (“Stratfor”), a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, that affected approximately 860,000 victims, including employees and subscribers. During his guilty plea, HAMMOND also admitted his involvement in multiple additional hacks, including computer intrusions into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Virtual Academy, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, and the Jefferson County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office. HAMMOND pled guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “While he billed himself as fighting for an anarchist cause, in reality, Jeremy Hammond caused personal and financial chaos for individuals whose identities and money he took and for companies whose businesses he decided he didn’t like. He was nothing more than a repeat offender cybercriminal who thought that because of his computer savvy he was above the law that binds and protects all of us – the same law that assured his rights in a court of law and allowed him to decide whether to admit his guilt or assert his innocence. Computer hacking is a very serious crime that violates the privacy and economic security of its victims and disrupts legitimate commerce. We will continue to make the prosecution and punishment of cybercriminals like Jeremy Hammond a top priority.”
According to the Complaint, the Superseding Indictment, the Superseding Information, and statements made in other public filings and in court:
In December 2011, HAMMOND and other members of “AntiSec” – an off-shoot of “Anonymous,” a loose confederation of computer hackers and others – hacked into computer systems used by Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (“Stratfor”), a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators stole confidential information from those computer systems, including Stratfor employees’ emails as well as account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or clients. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators also stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make more than $700,000 in unauthorized charges. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators also publicly disclosed some of the confidential information they had stolen.
In addition, at his guilty plea today, HAMMOND admitted his involvement in multiple additional hacks, including: the June 2011 hack of computer systems used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Virtual Academy; the June 2011 hack of computer systems used by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a state law enforcement agency in Arizona; the July 2011 hack of computer systems owned by Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing, Inc., a company based in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and various law enforcement-related websites; the August 2011 hack of computer systems used by Special Forces Gear, a company based in California; the August 2011 hack of computer systems used by Vanguard Defense Industries, a company based in Texas; the October 2011 hack of computer systems used by the Jefferson County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office; the October 2011 hack of computer systems used by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association; and the February 2012 hack of computer systems used by the Combined Systems, Inc., a company based in Pennsylvania.
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HAMMOND, 28, of Chicago, Illinois, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. He has also agreed to pay up to $2.5 million in restitution. He will be sentenced by Judge Preska on September 6, 2013 at 10 a.m.
Charges against four other hackers who were originally charged with HAMMOND, RYAN ACKROYD, JAKE DAVIS, DARREN MARTYN, and DONNCHA O’CEARRBHAIL – all of whom identified themselves as members of Anonymous or its offshoots, including “Internet Feds,” “LulzSec,” and “AntiSec” – remain pending. The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. ACKROYD and DAVIS were convicted for cybercrimes by a British court in May 2013 and are serving their sentences there.
The Office’s Complex Frauds Unit is handling the case.