Hacker group leader gets 24 months in federal prison for attacking US Navy, 50 other institutions

Co-defendant, to be sentenced in November was a former US Navy sysadmin onboard aircraft carries during hacks


One of the two leaders of the hacking group known as Team Digi7al was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison today for his role in hacking the U.S. Navy, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and over 50 public and private computer systems including the World Health Organization, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Harvard , two police departments and the Department of Homeland Security, according to U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams.

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Daniel Trenton Krueger, 20, of Dix, Illinois, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James H. Payne on May 20, and was initially charged in a single-count information on May 5, 2014. At the time of the hacking Krueger was a student, Williams stated.

A co-defendant, Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Virginia, will be sentenced on November 21, 2014. Knight was an active-duty systems administrator aboard the USS Harry S. Truman at the time of the hacking.

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 (SWM) 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, Oklahoma. At the time of the computer intrusions, Knight, Krueger, and other Team Digi7al conspirators posted links to the stolen information on a Team Digi7al Twitter account, according to Williams.

Investigators with the NCIS and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) identified Knight and Krueger as the hackers after a sting operation aboard the USS Harry S. Truman.

According to a Reuters report of the arrests, the NCIS discovered Knight regularly accessed the Team Digi7al Twitter account from within the Navy’s own network, according to Williams.  The NCIS set up a sting operation aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, during which Knight allegedly hacked a phony database set up by authorities.  Knight and Krueger later admitted their roles in leading the Team Digi7al conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Knight, who has since been  discharged from the Navy, allegedly described himself as a “nuclear black hat” fighting for the people of the United States rather than the government, Reuters stated.

A juvenile and two others who hacked for Team Digi7al were not charged, court documents say.

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