Former U.S. Navy Nuclear Systems Administrator Sentenced To 2 Years For Hacking The U.S. Navy And National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Computer Systems
TULSA, Okla. — The second leader of the computer hacking group Team Digi7al was sentenced today for hacking the United States Navy, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and over 50 public and private computer systems, announced Danny C. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Virginia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James H. Payne to 24 months in prison. At the time of the hacking attacks Knight was a U.S. Navy Nuclear Systems Administrator aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. Knight pleaded guilty to the single-count information on May 5, 2014. Co-defendant Daniel Krueger, 20, of Dix, Illinois, was sentenced to two-years in prison on October 22, 2014.
“Computer hacking presents a significant risk to national security. As a service member in the United States Navy, the defendant knowingly breached his oath of enlistment and became an insider threat,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to find cyber-criminals and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
According to court documents, in June 2012, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) detected a breach of the U.S. Navy’s Smart Web Move database, which stored personal records, including Social Security numbers, names, and dates of birth, for approximately 222,000 service members. The servers that stored these records were located in Tulsa. At the time of the hacking attacks, Knight, Krueger, and other Team Digi7al conspirators posted links to the stolen information on Team Digi7al’s Twitter account to make the private information available to the public.
In early 2013, Knight was administratively separated from the U.S. Navy after he was caught hacking into a computer system while aboard the USS Harry S. Truman during a sting operation conducted by the NCIS.
The case was investigated by the NCIS Atlantic Cyber Operations office in Norfolk, Virginia, with the cooperation and assistance of the DCIS Cyber Field Office, and other federal, state, and local agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn A. McCormick and Gary L. Davis II prosecuted on behalf of the United States.