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UK Hacker Pleads Guilty to Stealing US Satellite Data

A UK man has pleaded guilty to hacking the US Department of Defense and stealing the account details of hundreds of users of a satellite system.

Sean Caffrey, 25, of Sutton Coldfield, admitted illegally accessing and stealing the ranks, usernames and email addresses of more than 800 users of a military communications system, on June 15 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to theft of user details linked to around 30,000 satellite phones, according to the UK’s National Crime Agency.

Officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and West Midlands Police arrested Caffrey in March 2015 after tracing the attack back to his IP address.

A subsequent analysis of his hard drive apparently revealed the stolen data.

Officers were also able to trace back an online messaging account linked to the attack to computers owned by Caffrey, the NCA said.

“After strong partnership working between the NCA, the FBI and the DoD’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service there was very clear, very compelling evidence against Sean Caffrey,” said NCA investigations manager, Janey Young.

“No one should think that cybercrime is victimless or that they can get away with it. The NCA has people with skills like Caffrey’s, but they’re doing the opposite to him in detecting cyber-criminals and bringing them to justice. We’re working to keep the internet a safe space for people who use it legitimately.”

The DoD claimed the attack cost it $628,000 to remediate, clean up and investigate, but there’s no word on whether extradition proceedings will begin.

It seems unlikely given that Caffrey has now been prosecuted under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act.

However, Washington has gone after Brits caught hacking US government systems in the past.

In September last year a UK court ruled that alleged hacker Lauri Love can be extradited to the States, where he could face up to 99 years in jail, despite suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome.

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