Kane Gamble, British hacker, admits targeting heads of CIA, FBI

Kane Gamble, British hacker, admits targeting heads of CIA, FBI

A British teenager pleaded guilty Friday to 10 charges related to a hacking spree that targeted high-ranking U.S. government officials including the previous director of the CIA and the FBI’s former deputy director, among others.

Kane Gamble, 18, pleaded guilty in Leicester Crown Court to eight charges of “performing a function with intent to secure unauthorized access” and two charges of “unauthorized modification of computer material,” local media reported.

Waged between June 2015 and February 2016, Gamble’s admitted cybercrime spree targeted victims including then-CIA Director John Brennan and the former deputy director of the FBI, Mark Giuliano, the Leicestershire Mercury and Birmingham Mail both reported following Friday’s court hearing.

Both victims were targeted during that same span by a hacking group known as Crackas With Attitude. Previous reporting has identified the group’s leader, “Cracka,” as a British teenager arrested in February 2016 at the age of 16.

Gamble was 16 at the time of his arrest, his attorney said Friday, but was not previously named in court filings on account of a court order shielding his identity until he turned 18 this week, The Mercury reported.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Dec. 15, the reports said.

Two Americans charged with participating in Crackas With Attitude — Andrew Boggs and Justin Liverman, both of North Carolina — were arrested in 2016 and sentenced earlier this year after pleading guilty to criminal hacking conspiracy. They received two- and five-year prison sentences, respectively.

Court documents filed in the cases against Boggs and Liverman allege they conspired with “Cracka” to infiltrate the internet accounts of several senior U.S. officials and their families, causing more than $1.5 million in losses.

The hacker known as “Cracka” first achieved notoriety in October 2015 after boasting of breaching an email account belonging to Mr. Brennen and obtaining correspondence subsequently published by WikiLeaks. Boggs and Liverman linked up with the hacker shortly afterwards and began branding themselves as “Crackas With Attitude,” or CWA, according to the FBI.

The group took credit the following month for hacking AOL email accounts belonging to Mr. Giuliano and his wife, and ultimately CWA targeted more than 10 individual victims, according to the FBI.

Gamble admitted Friday to setting his sights on other U.S. government targets including former President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Avril Haines, and his senior science and technology adviser, John Holdren, local media reported.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment on the British teen’s guilty plea Friday. Prosecutors previously said at least three alleged members of the hacking group resided in the U.K. and are under investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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