British man charged with hacking US military networks

British man charged with hacking US military networks: A British man has been arrested in England and charged by the United States and Britain with hacking into US government computer systems, including those run by the military, to steal confidential data and disrupt operations, authorities said.

Lauri Love and three co-conspirators allegedly infiltrated thousands of systems including those of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US space agency NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency, according to a US grand jury indictment made public on Monday.

Love, 28, and the unnamed co-conspirators, including two in Australia and one in Sweden, then left “back doors” in the networks to later retrieve data, and intended that their activity “disrupt the operations and infrastructure of the United States government,” according to the indictment.

“Such conduct endangers the security of our country and is an affront to those who serve,” US Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey, who announced the charges, said in a statement.

Love was charged in Britain with violating the Computer Misuse Act, and charged in the United States with accessing a US government computer without permission and conspiracy, authorities said.

Fishman said the hacking took place from October 2012 until this month. He said it compromised personal data of US military personnel, and information on defense budgets, contract bidding, and the demolition and disposal of military facilities, and caused millions of dollars of losses.

The arrest comes as authorities worldwide coordinate efforts to combat cybercrime. On October 10, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a memorandum emphasizing a need to safeguard even unclassified technical data against cyber intrusions to help protect US military superiority.

“The cyber threat presents a significant risk to national security and military operations,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart said. “We take this threat seriously and work diligently to prevent future intrusions.”