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  1. ITV Report

Suffolk man faces new hacking charges

Lauri Love Photo: PA Images

A Suffolk man accused of hacking into US government networks faces a new charge of infiltrating the Federal Reserve's computers.

Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, was charged with computer hacking and aggravated identity theft, which carry a potential penalty of up to 12 years in prison.

He initially was arrested in Britain in October and released on bail after he was charged under a UK law that permits the arrest of anyone who starts attacks from the UK on computers anywhere in the world.

US authorities in the autumn had said Love cost the US government millions of dollars by hacking into the computer systems of various agencies, including the US Army, Nasa and the Environmental Protection Agency. Those charges were brought in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. He also faced federal charges in Virginia for other alleged intrusions.

In the latest case, prosecutors said Love broke into the Federal Reserve network between October 2012 and February 2013 and then posted on a website the names, email addresses and phone numbers of users of the Federal Reserve computer system.

"Cybercrime knows no boundaries, and justice will not stop at international borders," said George Venizelos, head of the New York office of the FBI.

US attorney Preet Bharara said Love was "a sophisticated hacker who broke into Federal Reserve computers, stole sensitive personal information, and made it widely available, leaving people vulnerable to malicious use of that information".

According to the indictment, Love bragged to other hackers in December 2012 that he controlled the server for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Using the name "peace", Love told others in a chat room that he had "shelled", or infiltrated, the Federal Reserve computer system and that he controlled several Federal Reserve websites, the indictment said.

It said he discussed possibly defacing the Federal Reserve website and sending fake emails to users of the Federal Reserve computer system.

The indictment said he informed other chat room members in February 2013 that he planned to publicly disseminate Federal Reserve computer system users' passwords and phone numbers.

Then, it said, he later announced to his online chat room friends that he was about to "drop another little federal reserve bomb" by disclosing additional passwords and phone numbers.