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UK Teen Who Hacked CIA Director Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison (gizmodo.com) 150

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: A British teenager who gained notoriety for hacking a number of high profile United States government employees including former CIA director John Brennan and former director of intelligence James Clapper was sentenced Friday to two years in prison. Eighteen-year-old Kane Gamble pleaded guilty to 10 separate charges, including eight counts of "performing a function with intent to secure unauthorized access" and two counts of "unauthorized modification of computer material," the Guardian reported.

Gamble, otherwise known by his online alias Cracka, was 15 at the time that he started his hacking campaigns. The alleged leader of a hacking group known as Crackas With Attitude (CWA), Gamble made it a point to target members of the U.S. government. The young hacker's group managed to successfully gain access to ex-CIA director John Brennan's AOL email account. The group hacked a number of accounts belonging to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, including his personal email, his wife's email, and his phone and internet provider account. The hackers allegedly made it so every call to Clapper's home phone would get forwarded to the Free Palestine Movement.

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UK Teen Who Hacked CIA Director Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 22, 2018 @07:21PM (#56485757)

    "performing a function with intent to secure unauthorized access"

    James Clapper... the chap who oversaw the largest "intent to secure unauthorized access" campaign in the history of computing? The one which targeted people all around the world for "full take" access? THAT James Clapper?

    When Clapper does 3 billion counts of whatever punishment this idiot kid will get, and goes away for the rest of his life, and the other people involved do similar time, then maybe we can think about what's appropriate for the idiot kid.

    Until then it's simply more "rules for me but not for thee".

    This is nothing less than a miscarriage of justice.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > "rules for me but not for thee"

      I think you meant it the other way around. But otherwise... yes.

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @08:15PM (#56485983) Homepage Journal

      The head of the CIA using an AOL account isn't as bad as it seems.

      Brennan had an account with AOL from the beginning of the internet, and only used it for personal, trivial things. He had a strong password, and didn't reuse passwords. All his work-related communications were done elsewhere.

      The "hack" was Gamble calling up AOL pretending to be Brennan, and having a sysadmin change the password.

      Brennan did nothing wrong, and could not have prevented this. In fact, he even did things right by not having any business-related communications on that account.

      I don't know the specifics of James Clappers' hack, but it was very likely the same. Assuming Clapper didn't have work-related stuff on his personal E-mail (and there's no reason to suspect that he did), this was nothing more than some high-level people being embarrassed by a kid hacker.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Brennan did nothing wrong

        Except the murdering that motivated the hack.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        If there is anything we have learned over the past few years it's that no account is trivial or unimportant. Too many services allow someone with control of an email address to reset passwords, log in to related sites and glean little bits of other information about you that can be used for further p0wnage.

        Even if it's just personal correspondence with friends and family, getting into that account reveals all their email addresses, information about their schedules, their writing styles and habits (great fo

        • Revealed (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @08:59AM (#56487709) Homepage

          Even if it's just personal correspondence with friends and family, getting into that account reveals all their email addresses, information about their schedules, their writing styles and habits (great for spear phising attacks), all kinds of stuff.

          In practice, given how seldom encryption is used in e-mail, that information isn't very well protected to begin with.

          Nearly nobody outside off /. ers uses GPG, and S/MIME is only used in some peculiar corporate settings.
          Thus nearly all e-mail are clear during the exchange.

          Also not every single e-mail server uses encryption.
          You might have setup your email client to use, e.g.: IMAPS and SMTP with STARTLS.
          But there's no guarantee that you correspondent will have done similar (or uses a webmail over HTTPS).
          And no guarantee either that the various machines along the chain between your SMTP server and your correspondent IMAP server will all use TLS/SSL secured links.

          So a lot of what you've mention can be gather simply by looking at un-encrypted traffic, no need to hack anyone's computer.

          Aside from the embarrassment of having an @aol.com email address, they don't support a lot of basic security tech like 2 factor auth and apparently don't give their support staff any security training, so should not be used for any purpose.

          That's the major problem in my opiion :
          - AOL is stuck in "early 90s" style of internet security.
          - it's not the kid who should get locked in. it's AOL who should be fined for awefully bad security practices.

    • by alexo ( 9335 )

      Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.

    • maybe the jailtime is just a cover story and in reality he got a job offer.
  • by greenwow ( 3635575 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @07:30PM (#56485791)

    of course the government with Israel's influence wants to nail him for that.

    Either way, I was with him until he decided to modify information. Release info is one thing. Modifying it is another.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And why the link in TFS? Am I to interpret this as right-swing Slashdot bosses trying to slashdot the organization's servers, or left-wing BeauHD trying to draw sympathizers to the cause?

      I'm no pro-Israel zealot, but I sure think the Anti-Zionists could help their cause if they more clearly repudiated antisemitism.

    • of course the government with Israel's influence wants to nail him for that.

      You know, full disclosure and all that conditional virile male cow excrement, I want to slight you immediately for the failure to capitalize... so and nonetheless; as the lottery recipient of the winning ticket, biologically, that paints you as a member of the planet's dominant species, you want to go down the blame the Jew's road?

      You are under-performing with the cards you've been dealt. The boy hacker is just now receiving the attention he has assiduously sought.

    • I had some sympathy for him when I read the summary but since you let me know he's working on behalf of actual terrorists murdering truly innocent people, I'd rather his sentence have been more harsh and won't give him a second thought.

    • The free Palestine movement is bullshit. Take a map. Look at all the land mass for Muslim, Christian, ... then look at the tiny little spec allotted for Jews, after everyone else in that area tried to exterminate all Jews... well now. Itâ(TM)s pretty fucking insignificant. Let the Jews have the tiny PoS land they got. Fuck. Religion is stupid. Why canâ(TM)t we move past this BS anyway. Religion is ancient wat to control the poor and mindless. Kind of like modern media/social media is today. How
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Muslims theocracies are bad. Christian theocracies are bad. Jewish theocracies are bad. The fervor to make sure there's enough Jewish people in Israel to be sure the Jewish maintain power makes it a theocracy to me. There's definitely a lot of countries in the region who wish all Jews killed. I understand that there's no reasonable way to placate the Muslims in the region, so even presuming Israel had actually worked to form relations with other countries in the region and assimilate the Palestinians,

        • Where exactly should the Jews go? Obviously not to your country, because you are spewing forth the kind of ignorant hate that got them to leave Europe in the first place.
        • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @12:42AM (#56486711)

          The fervor to make sure there's enough Jewish people in Israel to be sure the Jewish maintain power makes it a theocracy to me.

          It would if there were some religious test, or direct control of the government by the church (synagogue?). There isn't, though. "Jewish" is as much a cultural identifier as a religious one, and the government is essentially secular, with Muslim and Christian politicians serving in public office.

          As such, calling it a theocracy is just silly. Israelis aren't worried about trying to make sure that their country is governed by rabbis; they're worried about mass migration resulting in negative cultural changes. Any massive change in the demographics of a nation is going to have a significant impact on how that nation looks and functions.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            It would if there were some religious test, or direct control of the government by the church (synagogue?). There isn't, though. "Jewish" is as much a cultural identifier as a religious one, and the government is essentially secular, with Muslim and Christian politicians serving in public office.

            Yes, let's just ignore the Law of Return [wikipedia.org]. The government might function as a secular one, but the deck is specifically stacked to keep Jews in power.

            As such, calling it a theocracy is just silly. Israelis aren't wo

          • Any massive change in the demographics of a nation is going to have a significant impact on how that nation looks and functions.

            Demographics change. It's what societies do if they want to survive. There are no pure cultures, and ethnically pure states always fail.

            Attempting to preserve "borders, language, and culture" is a fools errand. After an animal has been to a taxidermist, they are seldom fertile. Look at the places in the US where there are efforts to preserve a dominant culture whose time has pa

            • There are no pure cultures, and ethnically pure states always fail.

              That's a completely vacuous statement. All states eventually fail in one way or another.

              It's even more irrelevant in the context of this discussion given that Israel is one of the least "ethnically pure" states in existence. You're just looking for an excuse to inject your weird political talking points into the discussion.

              Attempting to preserve "borders, language, and culture" is a fools errand.

              Awesome. I'll just let every country in the world know that they're wasting their time with that whole borders thing. Because pope fatso says so.

              You end up with some white supremacist jackoff stripping off his clothes and murdering people in a Waffle House.with an AR-15 after complaining on Facebook about the Illuminati and the Jews.

              If you actually paid attention to what

              • All states eventually fail in one way or another.

                Well, Iran and Egypt beg to differ. Still going strong after more than 5000 years.

                • That's pretty funny. I guess Germany is a good example that "ethnically pure" states don't fail either, then. In which case, which ethnically pure states were you referring to exactly?

                  • I guess Germany is a good example that "ethnically pure" states don't fail either, then.

                    Germany is not ethnically pure, and it's brief flirtation ended up with it being split in two.

                    In which case, which ethnically pure states were you referring to exactly?

                    All of them. Ethnically pure states fail. None exist, and whenever an effort arises to create one, it's always an express elevator to Hell.

                    • All of them

                      Awesome, thanks for being so specific.

                    • Japan.

                      Japan was a monoculture until their efforts at ethnic purity almost led to their destruction in 1945.

                      Today, Japan is actually a pretty diverse place. You will find Africans, white people, Europeans and folks from all over Asia. They don't have the levels of immigration that most Western countries have, but they are by no means an ethnic state.

                      If you wanted to propose more ethnically pure states, Poland and Hungary might be more appropriate, but they're actually pretty diverse too.

                      As I've stated, eth

          • "Jewish" is one of the least meaningful identifiers there is. It can mean an adherent of the religion, someone who is part of the culture but not necessarily religious, or it can be a race.

            Which just goes to show how silly Jewish conspiracy theories are.

        • Leaving Israel does not mean people still wpuld want to kill Jews. Just like thee are people who want to kill Muslims.

  • “It all started by me getting more and more annoyed about how corrupt and cold-blooded the US government are so I decided to do something about it.”

    Say what you will about us, and there's a lot to be said about our government, but how many "underage rape gang" scandals have come out in the UK post Rotterham? These are scandals where the authorities knew and not only did nothing, but sometimes pursued the parents for going after the men harming their daughters.

    If CWA wanted to do some good, they

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by ezdiy ( 2717051 )
      > If Rotterham had happened in the US

      Not living or ever been to the US, I get the impression this is simply all swept under the rug with euphemism of "teen pregnancy".

      In DC, 10% of all pregnancies are teenage.

      A super politically incorrect fact is that fathers are almost twice as likely to be no longer in their teens. There's a marked bias for black fathers as well, while girls ethnicity is more or less uniformly distributed. What social dynamic is exactly at play there is anyone's guess.
      • A super politically incorrect fact is that fathers are almost twice as likely to be no longer in their teens.

        Fathers are, on average, older than mothers in every nation and society on earth. There is nothing "political" about it.

        The average difference, at 2-3 years, is smallest in Europe and North America, and largest in polygamous societies of Africa.

        The reasons for this are obvious. Men have a biological imperative to prefer fertile women with more years available for child-bearing. Women have a biological imperative to prefer men with social status and resources, which generally increase with age.

        • A super politically incorrect fact is that fathers are almost twice as likely to be no longer in their teens.

          Fathers are, on average, older than mothers in every nation and society on earth. There is nothing "political" about it.

          The average difference, at 2-3 years, is smallest in Europe and North America, and largest in polygamous societies of Africa.

          The reasons for this are obvious. Men have a biological imperative to prefer fertile women with more years available for child-bearing. Women have a biological imperative to prefer men with social status and resources, which generally increase with age.

          Oh geeshe, Animojo and David Thornley are gonna be all over your backside now. All of what you wrote is merely a social construct. There is no difference between male and female. Yeah, I'm trolling.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That was another big story from a few years back. They blocked investigation of the charges until the last documented parliament member with ties to the sex abuse had died, because MI5 had been using 'protection' for the ring of them to get favorable financing passed through parliament.

      http://yournewswire.com/britis... [yournewswire.com]
      https://www.express.co.uk/news... [express.co.uk]
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/maga... [bbc.co.uk]
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      http://listverse.com/2015/09/0... [listverse.com]
      https://www.pri.org/stories/20... [pri.org]
      https://www.nytimes.com/201 [nytimes.com]

      • by ezdiy ( 2717051 )
        I'd not be one bit surprised when it comes to stuff like this in politics. Speaking for my own country, the whole political system is held together through complex web of blackmail. A lobbyist won't back a politician unless there exists a perfect kompro - this selects for politicians with paraphilias of the sort to guarantee public outrage and/or jail sentence if it ever came out.

        Of course occasionaly the blackmail ring is exposed accidentaly, in which case hasty cover up follows - the members did "nothi
        • by Anonymous Coward

          "A lobbyist won't back a politician unless there exists a perfect kompro"
          A lot of people ignore this very simple aspect of US elections. Nobody donates millions of dollars to a politician running for office without expecting to see a healthy return on their investment. Congress created the 501c corporations and PAC's for the specific purpose of funneling unlimited amounts of money to their favorite politicians. Want to fix the US government? Limit campaign donations to $2500 per person per year and ban PAC

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @08:58PM (#56486125)
    How long will the CIA director be in jail for allowing this to happen in the first place?
  • Shouldnâ(TM)t those that allowed the âoeattackâ be equally if not more responsibile and subject to the same or stronger penalty?
  • UK prison? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Sunday April 22, 2018 @09:18PM (#56486181)
    He'll likely be out in less than a year -- their justice system tends to be more "just" than the US's. Good, the people he hacked couldn't be a nicer bunch of "people."
  • Were the CIA serious about IT security it would reward white hats who successfully broke in and penalize those inside the organization who failed to protect against that. Instead, they penalize white hats and there is little to no accountability within government agencies.

    That is not a radical idea, it is the convention outside of government. We know that private companies offer bounties. Those of us who work for companies know that usually someone within the company who screws up is disadvantaged for th

    • What exactly made you think this teen was a white hat? It's not like he contacted AOL support again to tell them how bad their phone support staff were and helped them fix their broken training processes.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Sunday April 22, 2018 @10:25PM (#56486383)

    ...in a heartbeat.

    Hacking the CIA Director doesn't necessarily mean your hack-fu is incredible, but it probably indicates that your social skills are pretty good.

    That's what I want in an employee. I want somebody who can walk the walk well enough, of course. But my priority is that they make people who can help the company become more successful like and respect us. That's done through the people who speak for you. They don't need to be the brightest star in the sky. They need to be that bright person you would like to work with.

  • Gamble hacks Brennan and gets 2 years in prison. Brennan hacks congress and walks free. Nothing wrong with the justice system if you're in the top tier of a two-tiered system.
  • What he really was punished for is to show that the idiots who want every single information about everyone can't keep their own information (and of course ours) secure from a 15 year old kid.

  • The only interesting thing here Is that the director of the CIA is so out of touch he's still using AOL for his primary email address.

    • if you seach the comments for AOL you'll see that isn't true. He's simply maintained his old AOL account and doesn't use it for anything work related. It's his junk account. Heck my sister still has her old AOL account but it's not her primary one.

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