Two men have been charged with conspiring to hack into the computers of over 30 public and private organizations, including the U.S. Navy, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa.
In a news release, the U.S. Justice Department said Nicholas Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Virginia and Daniel Krueger, 20, of Salem, Illinois hacked into the computer servers as part of a plan to steal identities.
"The Navy quickly identified the breach and tracked down the alleged culprits through their online activity, revealing an extensive computer hacking scheme committed across the country and even abroad," said U.S. Attorney Danny Williams.
Williams said the NCIS detected a breach of the Navy's Smart Web Move database in June 2012.
He said the database stores personal records, including Social Security numbers, names, and dates of birth, for approximately 220,000 service members.
Williams said the computer servers are located in Tulsa.
The two men were initially known only by their online aliases as members of a hacking group called Team Digi7al. However, Williams said the NCIS investigation identified Knight and Krueger as the alleged hackers.
The victims included the following organizations:
The Justice Department said at the time of the hacking attacks, Knight was an enlisted Navy member assigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman as a systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department. Krueger was a student at an Illinois community college where he studied network administration.
In the news release, William stated Knight served as the Team Digi7al's self-proclaimed leader and publicist, while Krueger completed the technical hacking of the database and claimed to do so "out of boredom."
Williams said one conspirator stated online that the group was "somewhat politically inclined to release the things [they had]," but also because it was "fun, and we can." He said after hacking these organizations, the defendants and other conspirators posted links to the stolen information on Team Digi7al's Twitter account
If convicted, Knight and Krueger face a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, in addition to paying restitution to the victims of the crime. A trial date has not been set.