UK vicar’s son charged with hacking into US government computers


A hobbyist hacker attends a conference in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 28, 2010. Hobbyist hackers in Israel have caused a stir in recent weeks.


Sean Gallup

A British vicar’s son has been charged with hacking into US government computers and stealing personal data about thousands of employees.

Lauri Love, 28, from Stradishall, England, is charged with one count of accessing a US department or agency computer without authorization and one count of conspiracy. He’s been released on bail until February.

According to an indictment filed in District Court in New Jersey, Love, along with two Australian hackers and one Swedish hacker, stole date from NASA, the US Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency, the US Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

He also allegedly hacked the computers of the FBI's digital forensics lab and training center, allowing him to collect personal data on FBI employees.

Love and his fellow hackers used a security vulnerability in Adobe ColdFusion, used by many US government agencies to build their websites and databases, to gain access to the sites without login credentials, according to prosecutors. Officials said the vulnerability has “since been corrected.”

“You have no idea how much we can fuck with the US government if we wanted to,” he told one of his co-conspirators in an online chat, according to the indictment.

"This arrest is the culmination of close joint working by the NCA, Police Scotland and our international partners,” NCA spokesman Andy Archibald said. "Cyber-criminals should be aware that no matter where in the world you commit cyber crime, even from remote places, you can and will be identified and held accountable for your actions.”