News / Europe

Briton Arrested for Hacking US Military Computers

Al Pessin
A British man is free on bail after being charged with hacking into U.S. government military and civilian computer systems.  The case highlights the difficulty of securing sensitive data, and could be complicated by anger in Europe over revelations of U.S. intelligence agencies tracking millions of emails and phone calls.  

The 28-year-old from a rural village in eastern England is charged with cybercrimes in the United States and Britain.  He allegedly worked with hackers in Sweden and Australia to repeatedly break into the computer systems of thousands of U.S. organizations, including the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the NASA space agency, over the past year.  

The British man, identified as Lauri Love, is charged with stealing personal information about members of the U.S. military, budget documents, contract information and details about plans to close military facilities.  There is no indication the hackers did anything with the data they allegedly took.

Cyber Security Professor Tom Chen of City University London says such hacking is a longstanding problem that has not gotten much closer to being solved.

“There are new vulnerabilities all the time in systems, and these systems are being probed constantly, especially the military ones, the government ones.  It’s an ongoing problem because of the complexity of software these days.  It’s just impossible to catch all the vulnerabilities in time," said Chen.

And Chen says hackers are difficult to find because the Internet makes it easy for them to hide their identities and locations.  In this case, the man was found in part because he bragged about his exploits in online chat rooms.  Prosecutors published transcripts in which he allegedly said he could steal the identities of U.S. government employees and contractors.

The accused faces up to 10 years in jail and large fines if he is convicted in the United States.  But first he would have to be extradited, and some commentators say that may be more difficult after the uproar over U.S. government monitoring of millions of emails and phone calls in Europe, including calls by dozens of leaders.

But Professor Chen says this type of hacking is not the same as spying, and governments will react differently.

“Other governments should be sympathetic because it’s just as easy to imagine a hacker getting into UK sites or any other nation’s sites.  That’s a problem that all the governments face, and I think they would be sympathetic to each other," he said.

Still, Britain blocked the extradition to the U.S. of a man facing similar charges just a year ago.  

But experts say that was a special case because the man has Asperger’s Syndrome.  They also say the latest case appears to involve more U.S. agencies and more data.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs