News and Press Releases

Hacker Charged with Breaching Multiple Government Computers and Stealing Thousands of Employee and Financial Records

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Lauri Love, 29, of Stradishall, England, was indicted today by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on charges of conspiracy, causing damage to a protected computer, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; John R. Hartman, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); and Stephen Niemczak, Special Agent in Charge, Computer Crimes Unit at the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made the announcement.

According to the indictment, beginning around October 2012, Love and his conspirators accessed without authorization protected computers belonging to DOE, HHS, U.S. Sentencing Commission, FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, Deltek, Inc. and Forte Interactive, Inc. Love and his conspirators gained unauthorized access to the protected computers by exploiting a known vulnerability in Adobe ColdFusion, a software program designed to build and administer websites and databases. The vulnerability, which has since been corrected, allowed Love and his conspirators to access protected areas of the victims’ computer servers without proper login credentials—in other words, to bypass security on the protected computers.

After gaining unauthorized access to the protected servers, Love and his conspirators obtained administrator-level access to the networks using custom file managers, which allowed the conspirators to upload and download files, as well as create, edit, remove and search for data. Love unlawfully obtained massive amounts of sensitive and confidential information stored on those computers, including more than 100,000 employee records with names, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and salary information, along with more than 100,000 financial records, including credit card numbers and names. Love’s actions caused total losses in excess of $5 million.

The investigation was led by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, in conjunction with the Inspectors General for the United States Department of Energy, United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Postal Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan K. Dickey and Jay V. Prabhu are prosecuting the case.

Love faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison if convicted of the offenses charged in Virginia. He also faces a mandatory additional two years in prison if convicted of aggravated identity theft.  Love also is the subject of separate indictments on related charges in the District of New Jersey and the Southern District of New York.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-258.

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