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FBI: Kosovo Citizen Pleads Guilty of Hacking, Terrorism Support

  • VOA News

A citizen of Kosovo pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court Wednesday of providing material support to terrorists by giving information obtained through identity theft, the FBI said.

In a case described as the first of its kind, Ardit Ferizi pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Virginia, admitting he stole identification data from more than 1,000 U.S. citizens' records and provided it to Islamic State.

He is expected to be sentenced in September. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for support of terrorism and five years for accessing a protected computer and obtaining information without authorization.

Ferizi agreed to return to Kosovo after completing his prison sentence.

In a statement, the FBI said Ferizi's victims were U.S. service members and federal employees.

John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, said the case was the first to mix terrorism and cybercrime, a combination that security officials have long feared was on the horizon.

U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said, "Cyberterrorism has become an increasingly prevalent and serious threat here in America, both to individuals and businesses."

Ferizi admitted that from June to August 2015, he had administrator-level access to the databases of a company in the United States, from which he mined identity information to turn over to Islamic State. He admitted that he committed the theft knowing that IS planned to use the information to inflict damage on U.S. citizens.

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