Southern Illinois College Student Charged in Hacking Spree

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Andy Shofstall

WSIL -- A southern Illinois college student is accused in a hacking spree. He was part of an alleged team stealing sensitive info from dozens of websites, ranging from the Department of Homeland Security to Harvard University. 

One of the largest data breaches was at the Navy. It had to shut down a database and spend half a million dollars to fix the problem.

Court documents lay out that the team leader, Nicholas Knight of Virginia, had some "political motivations." He had been discharged from the Navy and had tried to hack at sea.

That's not the case for Daniel Krueger of Salem. The southern Illinois college student told investigators he did it "out of boredom." 
 
Other unnamed team members said they hacked because it was fun.
 
You can view the full 22-page federal document here.
 
The crimes crossed state and international borders. Nearly two years after they began, two members of an online hacking group are facing federal charges.
 
 -- Nicholas Knight, 27, was former Navy system administrator aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier.
     
 -- Daniel Krueger, 20, is a network administration student at Kaskaskia College.
 
"Any breach of private and sensitive information is serious," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Souders. 
     
Souders is based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. That's also the home of a Navy server containing personal info on more than 200,000 service members. Naval investigators discovered a breach in June 2012.
 
"A series of Twitter postings or tweets led them to hacking group, known online as 'Team Digi7al'," said Souders. 
 
Some of Team Digi7al's social media boasts included statements like the Navy had been "owned." 
 
They even tweeted directly at some of their victims. The Toronto Police were tagged multiple times in tweets. The team told them not sweep their hack "under the rug."
 
As news of their work began to spread, the team started laying low. One member sent a chat message saying that "the Navy got pissed" and he "didn't like the sound of prison."
 
According to the court documents, the hacking stopped in June 2013. Krueger also allegedly tried to erase evidence of the Navy breach. 
 
On Monday, the charges were handed down.
 
"It's the first step in the criminal justice process," said Souders. 
 
The other members are listed as being minors when they joined the team. They are located in Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia.
 
Souders wouldn't say if there would be more charges, only telling News 3 that the case was still under investigation.
 
If found guilty in federal court, Knight and Krueger could face up to five years in prison and could have to pay back any victims.
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