Hackers Facing Criminal Charges in Manhattan
The hacker group Anonymous has become an increasingly dangerous threat to the safety and security of everyone. Recently, a monumental court case has started the trial process. If successful, this case will bring down several key members of Anonymous, placing a huge dent in their activities. It is believed by many that if Anonymous is not stopped, they will continue to partake in their illegal activities and hacking into many corporations and government sites. When the case began, there were only four defendants on the case, but as of today, there are five.
27 year old Jeremy Hammond, a Chicago native, joined the other four defendants named in the indictment in federal court in Manhattan. The prosecution case began in March of this year. Hammond initially appeared in a Chicago court, but is now being held in lockup in Manhattan awaiting further progress in the trial.
This case represents a monumental breakthrough in stopping Anonymous. Authorities have said that this is the first time the courts have been able to prosecute members of Anonymous anywhere in the United States. If the prosecution succeeds, we may very well see a huge reduction in Anonymous activities.
According to the prosecutors, the defendants were able to hack into the websites of several large corporations and governments on a global scale, including sites for the US Government. Prosecutors say the defendants are also guilty of stealing confidential information, defacing websites, and even causing a few small businesses to go out of business. They say the defendants’ crimes have affected more than one million people.
At this time, it is not clear when Hammond will appear in court for his arraignment to enter a plea. Hammond’s lawyer has released no official comment, so it is still unknown whether Hammond will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. But as the evidence continues to mount, it seems like he is going to jail either way. The other defendants are located in England, Ireland, and Scotland. Extradition is currently being sought with those countries, which will bring those defendants to the United States to face their trial and punishment.
Hammond is the not the only defendant in Manhattan. Last year, 28 year old Hector Xavier Monsegur was caught by the FBI after they managed to track him through an online comment. He is known in the hacker community for his various hacking jobs and is considered to be a top ranking member of both Anonymous and LulzSec. With Monsegur behind bars, it was once believed that capturing the other hackers would only be a matter of time.
A legendary hacker known as Sabu, Monsegur pleaded guilty and cooperated for most of the last year with the FBI, which built the case against Hammond and four others. Hammond is charged in the indictment with conspiracy to commit computer hacking, computer hacking, conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment adds allegations that the conspiracy included a hack of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a state law enforcement agency in Arizona.