Posted January 21, 2020 06:33:48In a case of ‘a hacker, a thief, a criminal, and a criminal conspiracy,’ the FBI said it is looking for a California man with access to government computers who stole $600 million worth of government information from the US government and a handful of other nations.
A federal grand jury indicted a 41-year-old San Diego man in April on charges of computer fraud, wire fraud and identity theft, and the government is seeking the forfeiture of his computer systems.
The government has said the data was stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA), a U.S. intelligence agency, and stolen by the former U.K. government.FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking to reporters in Washington, said the FBI has “seen no evidence to support any of the charges.”
“Our focus is on those who took this data, and that is to protect the American people and their privacy,” Wray said.
“We have no evidence of any hacking or any theft of government property,” he said.FBI Special Agent In Charge Michael C. Lauer told reporters in the capital of Washington that the case is a significant criminal conspiracy to steal from the United States.
“The amount of data that was taken from the NSA, which is the largest information collection organization in the world, is enormous,” he told reporters.
“This is a criminal enterprise that we are concerned about.”
The FBI said the stolen data included emails, passwords, bank accounts, credit card information, financial records, and phone numbers.
The data was allegedly obtained by hacking into the servers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) in March 2016 and March 2017, the FBI and the department said.
The indictment accuses the man, who was indicted in June, of using a network of servers to access information from several federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Department to Prevent Disasters and Illnesses (DIPPED), and the US Army Reserve.
The man also allegedly used a network to hack into an unspecified number of U.N. agencies.
He allegedly also stole government information through a network he established in 2015 to receive and transmit classified government information, according to the indictment.
Lauer said the government has identified five “leaders” in the conspiracy.
“They are in this together,” he added.
“If they can’t figure out how to get the information to each other, then they’re not going to figure it out together,” Lauer said.
Lack of cooperation by those involved has made it difficult for the FBI to make arrests, the agency said.
It said that information from a third network that the man established in 2017 included passwords to email accounts, social media accounts, and other government systems.
“He has used a large number of accounts over time,” Lauber said.