The suspects are Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Virginia, and Daniel Trenton Krueger, 20, of Salem, Illinois. Knight, Krueger and other members of the hacker group are said to have targeted various organizations in an effort to steal identities, obstruct justice and cause damage to protected computers.
The list of targets includes the US Navy, the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the US Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization, the Toronto Police Service in Canada, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Montgomery Police Department, AT&T U-verse, Autotrader.com, the Library of Congress, and various universities.
Knight, who at the time of the attacks 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, is believed to be the group’s leader.
Softpedia covered most of the attacks carried out by the crew between April 2012 and June 2012. They started by highlighting the existence of vulnerabilities in high-profile websites, but they soon turned to leaking information from the databases they breached.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) detected a breach in the Navy’s Smart Web Move (SWM) database in June 2012. The database stored the social security numbers, names and dates of birth of 220,000 service members.
Knight and Krueger were identified after an investigation by NCIS and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Krueger allegedly hacked into the Navy’s SWM database out of boredom. At the time of the attacks, he was a student at an Illinois community college. He studied network administration.
“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,” said Northern District of Oklahoma United States Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr.
“We aggressively pursue individuals who steal personal information, especially when they victimize the men and women who bravely defend our country and our Constitution.”
A trial date has not been set, but the suspects face up to five years in prison. They can also be ordered to pay a fine and restitution to the victims.