Navy Systems Admin. Faces Hacking Charge

Allegedly Hacked Computer Systems of 30 Organizations
Navy Systems Admin. Faces Hacking Charge

A former systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department of an aircraft carrier is one of two individuals charged with hacking U.S. Navy computer systems and those at dozens of other government and commercial organizations.

See Also: Deception-Based Threat Detection: Shifting Power to the Defenders

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma alleges that Nicholas Paul Knight of Chantilly, Va., and Daniel Trenton Krueger of Salem, Ill, conspired to hack computers and systems as part of a plan to steal identities, obstruct justice and damage a protected computer.

At the time of the hacking attacks, Knight was assigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman as a systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department. Krueger was a student at an Illinois community college where he studied network administration, prosecutors say.

Knight and Krueger were members of the hacking group Team Digi7al, the U.S. attorney's office alleges. Knight allegedly served as the group's self-proclaimed leader and publicist.

In June 2012, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service detected a breach of the Navy's Smart Web Move database. The database manages transfers for service members of all branches of the military, storing sensitive personal records, including Social Security numbers, names and dates of birth, for approximately 220,000 service members.

Krueger's alleged role included completing technical hacking work of the database, claiming to do so "out of boredom," prosecutors say.

Knight, Krueger and other Team Digi7al co-conspirators allegedly hacked the computer systems of more than 30 public and private organizations to steal sensitive information, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the World Health Organization, AT&T U-verse, and Harvard University, the U.S. attorney's office says.

After hacking these organizations, the defendants and other conspirators posted links to the stolen information on Team Digi7al's Twitter account, making the private information publicly available, prosecutors say.

If convicted, Knight and Krueger face a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, in addition to paying restitution to the victims of the crime. A trial date has not been set.

"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," says U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams.

About the Author

Jeffrey Roman

Jeffrey Roman

News Writer, ISMG

Roman is the former News Writer for Information Security Media Group. Having worked for multiple publications at The College of New Jersey, including the College's newspaper "The Signal" and alumni magazine, Roman has experience in journalism, copy editing and communications.

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