NEWARK, N.J. – A British man has been arrested and charged with hacking into computer systems of the U.S. Army, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies at a cost of millions of dollars to the federal government.
Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, England, and his partners stole information about government employees, including military service members, since at least October 2012 by hacking into government networks and leaving behind “back doors” through which they could return to get data, a grand jury in Newark said in an indictment.
British authorities said Monday that Love was also charged under a U.K. law that allows people to be arrested for starting attacks from the U.K. on computers anywhere in the world. He has been released on bail until February.
A woman who answered the phone at the only listing for Love in the English village of Stradishall said the family would not be speaking to reporters. “We have nothing to say to Associated Press or any other kinds of press so please go away,” the woman said before hanging up.
The U.S. government said the purpose of the attacks was “to disrupt the operations and infrastructure” of the federal government. The New Jersey indictment does not accuse Love of selling information or doing anything else with it for financial gain.
Love was arrested Friday at his home about 70 miles north of London.
He’s accused of working with two co-conspirators in Australia and one in Sweden, none of whom have been charged. Their names were not disclosed in the court filing that was made public Monday.
The indictment includes pieces of instant message conversations that Love allegedly had with his partners.
In one, he seems to brag about infiltrating NASA networks: “ahaha, we owning lots of nasa sites,” he said, according to the government. In another exchange, he marvels at the information the group has accessed, writing “this … stuff is really sensitive,” according to prosecutors.
Love was charged in New Jersey because he allegedly used a server in Parsippany. He also faces federal charges in Virginia for other alleged intrusions.
Associated Press writers Cassandra Vinograd and Raphael Satter in London contributed.