Another member of ‘hacktivist’ group ‘Anonymous’ was given a 10-year prison sentence. Jeremy Hammond of Chicago was charged for hacking into PCs of a political analysis company. The 28-year-old hacker pleaded guilty in May to a count of conspiracy for allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Chief US District Judge Loretta Preska handed down the ruling during a recent hearing at the Southern District of New York federal district court. Hammond was arrested in March last year and was tried for hacking into PC systems of Strategic Forecasting or Stratfor.
When he was charged, Hammond was accused of obtaining credit card and subscriber information. He was also accused of inappropriately taking emails as well as many other forms of data. The information was later leaked. According to reports, the compromised credit cards were illegally used to make purchases worth about $700,000.
More of a whistleblower
Interestingly, Hammond gained supporters throughout the trial. Those attended the recent hearing. Hammond’s followers think he should be considered as a whistleblower after he revealed confidential information that brings about more public good.
His lawyers have argued that he only committed the acts as a form of his civil disobedience. They insisted that Hammond was just acting against a particular government subcontractor. However, Judge Preska rejected that argument.
Hammond logically portrayed himself more as a whistleblower. He insisted that his actions were done only to expose government secrets that would be beneficial to the people in general. However, he also admitted having broken into servers of various government and law enforcement agencies, businesses, and private organizations, which he claimed collaborated with surveillance by the government.
Out of frustration
He also claimed that he tried to go to the streets to protest the system. But he asserted that he only became more frustrated by government inaction. Thus, he turned to hacking to make his calls draw attention.
The 10-year sentence was not the first conviction of Hammond. When he was just 19 years old, he was already sent to jail for committing minor hacking activities. According to classified information, he used account names like ‘sup_g,’ ‘Anarchaos,’ ‘yohoho,’ and ‘burn,’ among others.
Incidentally, he is the most recent among prominent hackers from Anonymous who were sentenced with jail terms. Some hackers from another group called LulzSec had also been sent to jail for hacking. The two groups have been actively hacking since 2011.