(WASHINGTON) — Two North Carolina men were arrested and charged for their alleged roles in hacking into the computers of several U.S. government officials and U.S. computer systems.
Andrew Otto Boggs, a.k.a. “INCURSIO,” 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, a.k.a. “D3F4ULT,” 24, allegedly conspired with a group of hackers who call themselves “Crackas With Attitude,” or CWA, using “social engineering” to gain access to the personal online accounts of senior officials, their families and government computers, according to the federal criminal complaint.
Social engineering typically involves the use of open-source information about an individual to gain access to accounts by changing or resetting passwords.
The group went after private information associated with CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, according to sources.
In October 2015, it was revealed that a personal AOL email account associated with CIA Director John Brennan was hacked, as was an account linked to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, sources told ABC News.
In January, DNI Clapper was allegedly targeted by the hacking group, according to a U.S. official.
The hacker claimed to have broken into Clapper’s home telephone and internet, his personal email, and his wife’s Yahoo email, as well as changing the settings of Clapper’s Verizon FiOS account, according to Motherboard, which first reported the incident.
At the time, spokespeople for the CIA, DNI and DHS said the agencies were aware of the reports, but would not comment publicly on ongoing investigations.
In February, British authorities, with help from the FBI, arrested an unnamed teenager they believed to have been behind some of the cyberattacks on high-profile officials after information about rank-and-file employees working for the FBI, Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security was posted online.
Sources described that information as similar to an internal phone directory.
At least three other members of the conspiracy are located in the United Kingdom and are being investigated by British authorities, according to today’s criminal complaint.
The complaint details that in early 2016, CWA obtained unauthorized access to the Department of Justice’s case management system and distributed information from the system online.
Authorities at the time were trying to determine whether others may have been involved.
From around October 2015 to February 2016, CWA allegedly used hacking techniques, including victim impersonation, to gain unlawful access to personal and government accounts, according to the criminal complaint.
Members of the group are also accused of uploading private information that they obtained from victims’ personal accounts to public websites, harassing victims and their family members on the phone, and defacing victims’ social media accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
In 2015, Boggs, using the Twitter account “GENUINELYSPOOKY,” allegedly sent a direct message that said, “I’m going to help you with 0wning the [U.S. Govt. agency].”
Another message said, “Hacked any more [U.S. Govt. agency] agents?”
In most cases, the members of the group would change the password of an account, locking the victim out, according to the complaint.
Boggs and Liverman will have their initial appearances next week in federal court. Attorney information for the two men was not immediately available.
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