US Navy sailor hacked government computers, released secret records

Source: New York Daily News through DFINews

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A U.S. Navy man allegedly led a group of hackers to steal secret government information and shared the information on Twitter.

Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Va., was a systems administrator for nuclear aircraft carrier the USS Harry S. Truman at the time of the alleged crimes.

The group, known as Team Digi7al, is accused of infiltrating computer systems for more than 30 public and government organizations, authorities said.

Knight personally broke into the U.S. Navy’s Smart Web Move database “out of boredom,” according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The sailor, who went by the pseudonym “nuclear black hat,” reportedly claimed to fight for the American people — not its government.

A black hat hacker is a person who hacks computer systems intending to damage them, according to charging documents.

Another conspirator said online that the group was “somewhat politically inclined to release” information but said they also did so because it was fun, according to authorities.

In addition to getting a kick out of their work, it’s alleged that Knight’s team published individuals’ private information to “embarrass the victims,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Souders told the Daily News.

Furthermore, when rival hackers took credit for Team Digi7al’s work, Souders said “it was common for them to post more evidence.”

Of 220,000 service members whose information was stored by SWM, 20 allegedly had their private information tweeted out by Team Digi7al.

The information included full names, birth dates and password reminders, which contained information like children’s names and mothers’ maiden names.

Social Security numbers were also posted, albeit in obscured forms, according to Souders.

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