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Britain Arrests Suspected Pentagon Hacker

FILE - The logo of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is reflected in the spectacles of an analyst working in a watch and warning center of a cyber security defense lab in Idaho, Sept. 29, 2011.

British authorities have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with a hacking attack on the U.S. Defense Department last year.

Britain's National Crime Agency, or NCA, issued a statement Friday saying the suspect was one of 56 people arrested in a week-long crackdown on cybercrime.

The agency said the Pentagon hackers obtained contact information for some 800 people, including email addresses and phone numbers, when they infiltrated the network last June.

They also got information for about 34,400 devices the Defense Department uses to communicate with employees around the world, but the NCA says "no sensitive data was obtained" that could compromise U.S. national security interests.

The British agency says it is working with the FBI and the Pentagon to "investigate and pursue those in the UK who conduct their cyber criminality both nationally and internationally."

Jeffrey Thorpe of the Pentagon's criminal investigative service, or DCIS, said the arrest Wednesday underscores "the joint ongoing efforts among international law enforcement to stop cyber criminals in their tracks."

"DCIS Special Agents will use every tool at their disposal to pursue and bring to justice those that attack the Department of Defense," the NCA statement quoted Thorpe as saying.

Cybersecurity has been a major focus in the U.S. recently, after high-profile attacks against Sony Pictures Entertainment, JP Morgan Chase and other companies.

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order aimed at encouraging businesses and organizations to share more information about cybersecurity threats with the government and each other.

The government itself has suffered its own share of cyberattacks, including the hacking of unclassified computers at the White House and State Department, as well as the Twitter and YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the military campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Some of the recent cyberattacks have been blamed on hackers in Russia, China and North Korea.