Briton 'hacked US banking system'

Bicester Advertiser: Lauri Love who has been charged with hacking into American computer systems. Lauri Love who has been charged with hacking into American computer systems.

A British man has been charged with hacking into US Federal Reserve computer servers and stealing sensitive personal information of users.

Lauri Love, 28, has been charged with computer hacking and aggravated identity theft, which carry a potential penalty of up to 12 years in prison, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said.

The allegations were made in an indictment that was revealed in Manhattan federal court.

He has been charged with one count of computer hacking, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries an additional two-year prison sentence.

US Attorney Preet Bharara claimed Love was "a sophisticated hacker who broke into Federal Reserve computers, stole sensitive personal information, and made it widely available, leaving people vulnerable to malicious use of that information".

It is claimed the offences date from October 2012 to February 2013 when Love tried to secretly infiltrate the New York Federal Reserve Bank's computer servers in order to steal non-public information and then post that information on certain websites.

It is alleged that Love, of Stradishall, Suffolk, worked with "other hackers around the world to gain access". They were trying to target a software programme which "contained a vulnerability" in order to break in to the servers, it was claimed.

In October 2012, according to the indictment: "Love used his unauthorised access to locate and steal certain confidential information residing on the Federal Reserve servers, including the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of users of the Federal Reserve computer system. Love then disseminated that information publicly by posting the information to a website that previously had been hacked and that he controlled".

George Venizelos, head of the New York office of the FBI, said: "Cyber-crime knows no boundaries and justice will not stop at international borders."

The US authorities previously said he was charged with hacking into thousands of American computer systems including the US army, Nasa and other federal agencies.

Love is accused of breaching the systems to steal "massive quantities" of confidential data resulting in millions of dollars of losses. He was arrested by officers from the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) under the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) in October last year and later charged by US authorities in New Jersey.

Under the CMA, individuals can be arrested for launching attacks from within the UK against computers anywhere in the world.

He and co-conspirators - believed to be in Australia and Sweden - allegedly created "back doors" into government networks, allowing them to return to get data.

Love has taken part in protests for Occupy, the global "anti-greed movement" and h is father Alexander Love, 60, a Baptist minister, works as a chaplain at HMP Highpoint North. His mother Sirkka-Liisa Love, 59, also works at the jail as a teacher.

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