Police in the United Kingdom arrested a teenager suspected of breaching U.S. intelligence officials’ accounts, according to phys.org, a science, research and technology news site. The arrest followed news reports of hacking attacks against CIA, FBI, White House, Homeland Security and other government agencies claimed by someone using the name “Cracka.”
A police spokesperson said they arrested a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday in East Midlands on charges including suspected conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to computer material and to commit unauthorized acts with intent to repair.
Arrest Linked To Hacking?
The police spokesperson did not connect the arrest to the widely-reported hacking attacks on U.S. intelligence officials, but Motherboard, CNN and other sources said the hacking of U.S. officials was linked to the suspect.
Brian Hale, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed a hack against James Clapper, the national intelligence director, to Motherboard on Tuesday.
‘Free Palestine’ Fields Clapper’s Calls
“Cracka” contacted Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a writer at Motherboard, claiming to have accessed a series of Clapper’s accounts, including his personal email, his wife’s Yahoo email, and his home phone number.
“Cracka” gave the Motherboard writer a phone number he claimed was Clapper’s home phone number. When Franceschi-Bicchierai called the number on Monday evening, he got an answer from Paul Larudee, the co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement. Larudee told the writer that he had been getting calls for Clapper for the last hour after an anonymous caller told him that he had set Clapper’s number to forward calls to him. Larudee said that one of the callers said he was sitting in Clapper’s house next to his wife.
“Cracka” told Motherboard he switched the settings on the home phone to reroute calls to the Free Palestine Movement based in California.
The FBI declined to comment.
U.S. Intelligence Officials Hacked
Government officials reported last month Clapper’s online accounts were hacked a few months after John Brennan, CIA director, also suffered an attack.
Brennan said in October he was outraged that attackers accessed his personal AOL email account. WikiLeaks released information from the hack, including policy recommendations on Pakistan and Afganistan as well as family phone numbers and addresses.
Hackers told Wired Magazine in October they were able to fool Verizon using falsified employee identification numbers to gain access to Brennan’s AOL account, Hacked reported. The hacking group’s Twitter account was decorated with screenshots from the hack.
A back and forth of account resetting took place three times before the hackers called Brennan’s personal phone number. They claimed Brennan asked what they wanted, and the hackers told him, “We just want Palestine to be free and for you to stop killing innocent people.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s Comcast account was also compromised though it appears the hackers didn’t get much further than that with his account.
WikiLeaks Releases Dump On Brennan
WikiLeaks released the “Unidentified Brennan Group,” a table of 22 people including Brennan along with prominent figures in Homeland Security and former CIA employees, Hacked reported. The release also contained information about Brennan’s previous employers – the Analysis Corporation along with details of the 22 people such as previous employment, compensation, security clearance, etc.
Another document revealed a comprehensive dossier on an FBI agent, taken directly from Brennan’s personal email. FBI agent Donovan J. Leighton was the FBI program manager for the FBI’s counterterrorism division in the Arabian Peninsula.
WikiLeaks also published e-mails taken from the Stratfor breach, a private firm dealing with global intelligence operations. One of the emails taken from the company revealed: “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources.”
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